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The Populist Vision

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the late nineteenth century, monumental technological innovations like the telegraph and steam power made America and the world a much smaller place. New technologies also made possible large-scale organization and centralization. Corporations grew exponentially and the rich amassed great fortunes. Those on the short end of these wrenching changes responded in the Populist revolt, one of the most effective challenges to corporate power in American history.

But what did Populism represent? Half a century ago, scholars such as Richard Hofstadter portrayed the Populist movement as an irrational response of backward-looking farmers to the challenges of modernity. Since then, the romantic notion of Populism as the resistance movement of tradition-based and pre-modern communities to a modern and commercial society has prevailed. In a broad, innovative reassessment, based on a deep reading of archival sources, The Populist Vision argues that the Populists understood themselves as--and were in fact--modern people, who pursued an alternate vision for modern America.

Taking into account both the leaders and the led, The Populist Vision uses a wide lens, focusing on the farmers, both black and white, men and women, while also looking at wager workers and bohemian urbanites. From Texas to the Dakotas, from Georgia to California, farmer Populists strove to use the new innovations for their own ends. They sought scientific and technical knowledge, formed highly centralized organizations, launched large-scale cooperative businesses, and pressed for reforms on the model of the nation's most elaborate bureaucracy - the Postal Service. Hundreds of thousands of Populist farm women sought education, employment in schools and offices, and a more modern life. Miners, railroad workers, and other labor Populists joined with farmers to give impetus to the regulatory state. Activists from Chicago, San Francisco, and other new cities provided Populism with a dynamic urban dimension

This major reassessment of the Populist experience is essential reading for anyone interested in the politics, society, and culture of modern America.

Synopsis:

The Populist movement has been both dismissed as an irrational response of backward-looking farmers to modernity and romanticized as a resistance movement of tradition-based communities to modern, commercial society. Now, in a wide-ranging and provocative reassessment, based on a deep reading of archival sources, The Populist Vision argues the opposite--that the Populists understood themselves as, and in fact were, modern people, pursuing an alternative vision for modern America.

Taking into account the leaders and the led, The Populist Vision uses a wide lens--focusing on the farmers, both black and white, men and women--but also looking at wage workers and bohemian urbanites. Ranging from Texas to the Dakotas, from Georgia to California, Charles Postel shows how farmer Populists strove to use the new innovations for their own ends. They sought scientific and technical knowledge, formed highly centralized organizations, launched large-scale cooperative businesses, and pressed for reforms on the model of the nation's most elaborate bureaucracy--the Postal Service. Hundreds of thousands of women joined the movement, too, seeking education, employment in schools and offices, and a more modern life. Miners, railroad workers, and other labor Populists joined with farmers to give impetus to the regulatory state. Activists from Chicago, San Francisco, and other new cities provided Populism with a dynamic urban dimension.

The winner of a prestigious Bancroft Prize and the Organization of American Historian's Frederick Jackson Turner Award, this highly original account of the Populist movement is essential reading for anyone interested in the politics, society, and culture of modern America.

About the Author

Charles Postel is Assistant Professor of History at California State University, Sacramento.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Modern Times

Part One: Farmers

1. Push and Energy: Boosterism and Rural Reform

2. Knowledge and Power: Machinery of Modern Education

3. A Better Woman: Independence of Thought and Action

4. A Farmers' Trust: Cooperative Economies of Scale

Part Two: Populists

5. Business Politics: State Models and Political Frameworks

6. Race Progress: Racial Ordering of American Life

7. Confederation: Labor, Urban, and Nonconformist Reform

8. Shrine of Science: Innovation in Populist Faith

Conclusion: Populist Defeat and its Meaning

Sources

Product Details

ISBN:
9780195384710
Author:
Postel, Charles
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Author:
null, Charles
Subject:
United States - 19th Century
Subject:
Economic History
Subject:
Social history
Subject:
North America
Subject:
History, American | Late 19th Century
Subject:
US History-19th Century
Publication Date:
20090431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
22 halftones
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
6 x 9.1 x 0.7 in 1.319 lb

Related Subjects


Business » History and Biographies
History and Social Science » Economics » General
History and Social Science » Native American » General Native American Studies
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » US History » 1860 to 1920
History and Social Science » US History » 19th Century
History and Social Science » US History » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

The Populist Vision New Trade Paper
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$29.75 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780195384710 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , The Populist movement has been both dismissed as an irrational response of backward-looking farmers to modernity and romanticized as a resistance movement of tradition-based communities to modern, commercial society. Now, in a wide-ranging and provocative reassessment, based on a deep reading of archival sources, The Populist Vision argues the opposite--that the Populists understood themselves as, and in fact were, modern people, pursuing an alternative vision for modern America.

Taking into account the leaders and the led, The Populist Vision uses a wide lens--focusing on the farmers, both black and white, men and women--but also looking at wage workers and bohemian urbanites. Ranging from Texas to the Dakotas, from Georgia to California, Charles Postel shows how farmer Populists strove to use the new innovations for their own ends. They sought scientific and technical knowledge, formed highly centralized organizations, launched large-scale cooperative businesses, and pressed for reforms on the model of the nation's most elaborate bureaucracy--the Postal Service. Hundreds of thousands of women joined the movement, too, seeking education, employment in schools and offices, and a more modern life. Miners, railroad workers, and other labor Populists joined with farmers to give impetus to the regulatory state. Activists from Chicago, San Francisco, and other new cities provided Populism with a dynamic urban dimension.

The winner of a prestigious Bancroft Prize and the Organization of American Historian's Frederick Jackson Turner Award, this highly original account of the Populist movement is essential reading for anyone interested in the politics, society, and culture of modern America.

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