The increasing economic struggles of poor farmers during the 1870s and 1880s led to the Populist movement. By 1896, populist issues had become so important that the Democratic candidate for president, William Jennings Bryan, pledged to support them and went on to win most of the South and West. In this lesson, students read two Populist speeches in order to explain why the movement gained such broad appeal and powerful influence.
Image: Photo of Populist Convention in Nebraska taken by Solomon D. Butcher in 1892. From the Library of Congress.