Saturday, July 20, 2019
The Grange :: essays research papers
The Grange The Grange was the first major farm organization and began in the 1860's. This organization was created mostly as a social and self-help association not originally an organization of protest. During the depression of 1873, this group of bonded friends, became an "agency for political change." They knew in ordered to help themselves they must become a voice in this new government in order to survive. With the depression farm product prices began to decrease. More farms joined the Grange to band together to resolve the issues before them. Beginning as a small group of friends learning from each other what worked and what didn't, by 1875 the Grange boasted of over 800,000 members and 20,000 local lodges; claiming chapters in almost every state, being the strongest in the states that produced the most: the South and Midwest. As a group (strong in member) they made their statement to the world on an appropriate day, Independence Day 1873. The framers Declaration of Independence informed those listening they were ready to fight back. The Declaration stated they would use "all lawful and peaceful means to free themselves from the tyranny of monopoly". Many of the members opened stores and other businesses so they could begin to buy and sell to each other. However most of these were farmers, with families, not businessmen and many companies didn't survive because of their lack of real business knowledge and the pressures of the middlemen who wanted them to fail. They worked as a team to get candidates elected who agreed with the need for governmental control of the railroads. With the control of the Legislatures they implemented governmental controls on railroad rates and practices. However the railroad was also very wealthy. They hired lawyers who soon destroyed the new regulations. With these defeats and with the new rise in farm prices in the late 1870's the Grange began to lose strength and power, dwindling to a membership to only 100,000 by 1880. The Grange was the springboard for another banding together of farmers, the Farmers Alliances. This new movement began in the Southern states and quickly spread beyond what the Grange had been. One of the most notable differences within the Alliance, was the approval of women to vote and become speakers and leaders for their cause. The Alliance however, had similar problems as the Grange. Many of the cooperations, stores, banks, processing plants and other resources began to suffer the same fate. Lack of solid management and the market forces operating against them caused them to fail. These disappointments aided the forming of a national political organization.