The omaha platform. The Omaha Platform Goals & Overview 2022-10-19
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The Omaha Platform was a set of political principles adopted by the Populist Party at its convention in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1892. The platform called for a number of sweeping economic and political reforms, including the free coinage of silver, the nationalization of railroads and telegraphs, and the establishment of a graduated income tax.
One of the key issues addressed by the Omaha Platform was the issue of money and currency. At the time, the United States was on the gold standard, which meant that the value of the dollar was tied to the value of gold. This made it difficult for farmers and other debtors to pay off their debts, as the value of their crops and other assets tended to fluctuate with the value of gold.
The Populists argued that the gold standard was biased against debtors and favored creditors, and called for the free coinage of silver as an alternative. They believed that an increase in the supply of money would lead to lower interest rates, making it easier for farmers and other debtors to pay off their debts. The Populists also called for a graduated income tax, which would have required the wealthy to pay a larger share of their income in taxes.
In addition to economic reforms, the Omaha Platform also called for a number of political reforms. The Populists argued that the political system was controlled by a small group of wealthy elites, and called for measures such as the direct election of senators and the secret ballot to make the political system more democratic.
Overall, the Omaha Platform was a radical and ambitious set of proposals that aimed to address the economic and political concerns of a broad coalition of farmers, workers, and other marginalized groups. While many of the specific proposals contained in the platform were not implemented, the Populist movement helped to bring about important reforms such as the secret ballot and the direct election of senators, and laid the groundwork for the progressive movements of the 20th century.
Populism and the Omaha Platform of 1892
All land now held by railroads and other corporations in excess of their actual needs, and all lands now owned by aliens should be reclaimed by the government and held for actual settlers only. The fruits of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for a few, unprecedented in the history of mankind; and the possessors of those, in turn, despise the republic and endanger liberty. We demand a graduated income tax. We assert our purposes to be identical with the purposes of the National Constitution; to form a more perfect union and establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity. RESOLVED, That we condemn the fallacy of protecting American labor under the present system, which opens our ports to the pauper and criminal classes of the world and crowds out our wage-earners; and we denounce the present ineffective laws against contract labor, and demand the further restriction of undesirable emigration. Neither do they now promise us any substantial reform. RESOLVED, That we oppose any subsidy or national aid to any private corporation for any purpose.
Primary Source: The “Omaha Platform” of the People’s Party (1892)
American politicians kept fighting for many Populist goals, and most were achieved. Despite the Populists' impact on the national dialogue, particularly on economic issues, their party's candidates did not win any Presidential elections. Neither do they now promise us any substantial reform. What was the Omaha Platform The Omaha Platform expressed the goals of the newly-formed Populist Party as agreed upon at their convention in Omaha, Nebraska, in July of 1892. We demand that postal savings banks be established by the government for the safe deposit of the earnings of the people and to facilitate exchange. Assembled on the anniversary of the birthday of the nation, and filled with the spirit of the grand general and chief who established our independence, we seek to restore the government of the Republic to the hands of "the plain people," with which class it originated. Chapman, 1892 , 269-271.
Such banks would allow laborers to have a presumably safer place for their deposits in contrast to the banks run by private industry with little regulation. They also sought for an eight-hour workday and the direct election of senators, as opposed to their being elected by state legislatures. The urban workmen are denied the right to organize for self-protection, imported pauperized labor beats down their wages, a hireling standing army, unrecognized by our laws, is established to shoot them down, and they are rapidly degenerating into European conditions. The effect of the bank's closure cascaded into more than 10,000 other businesses over the next two years, many related to the railroad industry and real estate investments in land adjacent to railroad routes. So, they joined up with a few national labor unions fighting for more rights for workers, namely the Knights of Labor, and they formed their own political party. By the 1930s, programs for federally-backed loans for farmers also were implemented. We believe that the power of government—in other words, of the people—should be expanded as in the case of the postal service as rapidly and as far as the good sense of an intelligent people and the teachings of experience shall justify, to the end that oppression, injustice, and poverty shall eventually cease in the land.
Our country finds itself confronted by conditions for which there is no precedent in the history of the world; our annual agricultural productions amount to billions of dollars in value, which must, within a few weeks or months, be exchanged for billions of dollars' worth of commodities consumed in their production; the existing currency supply is wholly inadequate to make this exchange; the results are falling prices, the formation of combines and rings, the impoverishment of the producing class. If not met and overthrown at once it forebodes terrible social convulsions, the destruction of civilization, or the establishment of an absolute despotism. Many of the specific proposals urged by the Omaha Platform—the graduated income tax, the secret ballot, the direct election of Senators, the eight-hour day—won enactment in the progressive and New Deal eras of the next century. The big moment for this new party came in 1892, when it was time to hold their very first national convention and select a candidate for president of the United States. Additionally, the platform called for railroads to be owned by the U.
The alliance forged a coalition with The Knights of Labor, a national labor union, and also enfolded some members of the Greenback Party within their group, including James Weaver, who later became the Populists' nominee for U. In addition to their economic proposals, the authors of the Omaha Platform advocated for the railroads to be owned and operated by the government similar to a public utility. Louis to prepare the way for a national convention and announce the formal launch of a third party. We declare that this Republic can only endure as a free government while built upon the love of the whole people for each other and for the nation; that it cannot be pinned together by bayonets; that the civil war is over, and that every passion and resentment which grew out of it must die with it, and that we must be in fact, as we are in name, one united brotherhood of free men. One Dollar bill, 1878, with iconic green back. The platform proposed a system of federal storage facilities for the farmers' crops.
We believe that the power of government—in other words, of the people—should be expanded as in the case of the postal service as rapidly and as far as the good sense of an intelligent people and the teachings of experience shall justify, to the end that oppression, injustice, and poverty shall eventually cease in the land. The platform addressed union organizing and efforts to hinder this practice. What was the People's Party? RESOLVED, That the revenue derived from a graduated income tax should be applied to the reduction of the burden of taxation now levied upon the domestic industries of this country. We charge that the controlling influences dominating both these parties have permitted the existing dreadful conditions to develop without serious effort to prevent or restrain them. This idea of protecting silver was so important to the populists that 16:1 actually became their main rallying cry.
The Omaha Convention of 1892, in addition to producing the Omaha Platform, nominated James Weaver, a reform-minded yet more moderate Congressman from Iowa, for President with James Field, an ex-Confederate general and then the Attorney General of Virginia, as his running mate. RESOLVED, That we demand a free ballot and a fair count in all elections and pledge ourselves to secure it to every legal voter without Federal Intervention, through the adoption by the States of the unperverted Australian or secret ballot system. A persuasive writer and speaker, he was a unique figure in populist politics who advocated for women's suffrage and increased educational opportunities for formerly enslaved people, yet also subscribed to pseudoscientific theories including the lost continent of Atlantis. By the time the convention day arrived, over 1300 delegates had made their way to Nebraska for the event to certify the platform, nominate candidates, and further develop their national strategy. What did the Populists Propose in the Omaha Platform? They propose to sacrifice our homes, lives, and children on the altar of mammon; to destroy the multitude in order to secure corruption funds from the millionaires. With taxes they called for a graduated income tax, in which people's tax rate is based on their income, as well as nationalization, or federal ownership, of railroads, telephones, and telegraph lines. A group known as the Farmer's Alliance worked to elect local and state officials that would support policies more in line with farmers' interests.
The Populist Revolt: A History of the Farmers Alliance and the Peoples Party. However, Populists' candidates did not win any Presidential elections. Actually, very few people across all of American history could have ever said this. Another economic panic in 1893 further increased the Populists' support, and in 1896, the Democratic Party decided to jump on the rural bandwagon. More than one hundred years removed from the Omaha Convention, the term 'populist' has evolved in the political arena and has been applied to various third-party movements across the political spectrum; what they have shared is not so much policy positions but an attitude of contesting the order of the political establishment and claiming to connect with everyday citizens.