The Colored Farmers' Alliance and Negro Disfranchisement in the South

The Colored Farmers' Alliance and Negro Disfranchisement in the South

Illinois Wesleyan University Digital Commons @ IWU Honors Projects History Department 1966 The Colored Farmers' Alliance and Negro Disfranchisemen...

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Illinois Wesleyan University

Digital Commons @ IWU Honors Projects

History Department

1966

The Colored Farmers' Alliance and Negro Disfranchisement in the South Sandranel Bahan '66 Illinois Wesleyan University

Recommended Citation Bahan '66, Sandranel, "The Colored Farmers' Alliance and Negro Disfranchisement in the South" (1966). Honors Projects. Paper 37. http://digitalcommons.iwu.edu/history_honproj/37

This Article is brought to you for free and open access by The Ames Library, the Andrew W. Mellon Center for Curricular and Faculty Development, the Office of the Provost and the Office of the President. It has been accepted for inclusion in Digital Commons @ IWU by the faculty at Illinois Wesleyan University. For more information, please contact [email protected] ©Copyright is owned by the author of this document.

II

To understand and evaluate fully and accurately the of the

I

to

te is

revo lt

s and the grievances that

to the

revolt and the

The rem.ainder of the A l liance and >,Ti l l the Colored

11 examine in

to

the

ll ionce in southern life and po

of of the nine-

, therefore, the first

Of neces

it is necessary the

of the

nd

Union

National A l liance and \,,1 th the

that developed

and

paper

of'

of the farmer0 the\ro le of the and the

is

vrith

There is a screw loose.

s have

The

The railroads have icultural

industrial out of and

be,'m so

The banks have never done a

better or more profitable husiness

and s never made more , and

money or were in a more

Towns and cities flourish and



I and grow and Ibooml and

shes.

ture

and fees were never

and d

1

and

is true that the b

civilization had not benefitted

1

in

United states

of

the , and Ie classes than had been to

The

to the

been the lO'tler

to the oi ty dv:ellers

exi

the United to

seek

itical action one the

in the

in

to to

c

G

2 for his lack

1

convinced to

a

he did not

COlll.'1lodi ties on

and

*

market.

s

In the years from he

t

I n certa.in on at a lOSSe 4

was actual of the so-called for the

:z;

from his lande/' 'VJas due to the 10',1

decl

to

and

the

success of his farm and a

never doubted that his lack of he r eceived

In

erts back east

rmersl

gross s true that the

t while it doubled in the increase

st d

that since the "Testern la.nds tiv

s

new -- in s of

d and the southern

inois,

to

of' the

The farmers

10:

-2 -

no

s to

their

and cooperative cterized Great road

In Minnesota and

,

, fo

to pay over half the value of to

to be sold.

6

s "rere

The fantastic

but the

to the

ace

all the

st of all,

traffic to the cars

"las

of

"rest 'flere

s

the fantastic lost money for the

for

,

the

res.son that0� there "rere too many of them say, the

even

Mitchell, South

Even vlith still

to pay the cost

Third,

,



s in these areas 'itlere tremendou s ly overbuilt"

the

it

to

and the South went in one direction

traffic in the fre

farmers viere

\vheat

necessary for several reasons.

east.

farmer-rail-

heeded 8,11

in

not be

railros.d eXecuti did this

farnler

t

r line the

the remainder of the continue

to

cars,

which meant a loss of

nee

tion

II

the

s and

more obstacles to fair

to

rmerrwished to send his the e

in

to

addition

or to market.

srnall group of

nail-

on

s

tor

chance of or

cooperative

the railroad lines.

that if a

l ine the el

s

to

iscrimination and the elevrtor

st

an

ind ivid ual

te elevf,tors on their ovm

rmens to sot up

or alongside the nearest railroad line vias doomed to failure estab-

since the railroads refused to first of all deal with any elevators,

lished

and second

to

Is to colleot their

ny

the :f'8.ct

A

ievances

redre b rticular

slative

sible since tical s

the railroads

in the western states

it vlas the Santa Fe

In

cific lines

Union

votes in the

control

other ste.tes to

in

ce

chance in control of

in the

10

tures. s intro-

insl.l.lt

st

of the s.

to have

s of �.he iunerican

federal

lisheci claims

had, hovtever, e

to much of this

lie d

considerable

idea

on.

to

no

for free land

The d

nei for homesteads

territories is best exemplified

in the

land at

d proceeded to sell ere,

s

the

ven to the American

the

led to death in the rush for tiUable Imd.

were

The railroads, the farmers

the federa l citizens.1 1 crops raised in

t there 'l'lere

s

rates,

one

corn

interest.



tes

ralseu

End in

were so ised value of

cases

for

west were too heR

in debt that the

IS

there the

ins.

1

i

and e stence

t' 14 , t end moved back east or 2nvo the ],arger CJ. ':Les.

declared

.

that has been said the South and to the and

bout the

he to live

in

to

and an

their situation or

lords

"lith indiff-

fae

1.'lhi te ccunter-

the railroads,

, plus the businessmen and the

future

15·

in the fir in

s and some

bsentee mmer

s

of the

to go

ition to the crop liens, most

to

their

crop

,.rinter s.nd pay for

t:leir needs.

to

vlith

have and often forced

oor ,,?hites in the South "rere victims of

arenee

A

the southern farmer i'lElS faced \-,'ith

in

i

icable to

is

with one ad ition.

liens the into d

or

to

United

out of

s

ove-stated lliance

of

American

is 'lhe

Milton

llinois on

1

June

in

linois

In its ch'3.rter the A lliance issued a condenme.tion

the

advocated

control

6

of the railroads to

The

Al ia.nce idea

and were the in I l li nois,

less success ouri" 17

Wisconsin, the years

the

crops and

lliance movement declined as

but por crops and hard times

eturned

Id

,,,hen the A l lianc nee movement was once del further lie.nce

s its

is dis

8

events in the

in

loca. lized frot.:

Northern

to secret rituals --

the

1

9,

rural

1 iance 1



J.l�ance '

In

.19

lliance in it

local or

20

In

at

s as its

21

to the

sister

the Southern Alliance

Before

Bted

entire

in

j oint

Louis,

national Alliance.

name

issues

three

st

TllaS over the

,,[ould be called.

of the tvlO the national

upon cal tion the Farmers' ob j ected

li8.nc

Southern

unification of one

joined

Laborers'

Unione

lli ance

The

instead

word Alliance and

I tion

southerners This was considered

into

" 1

minor

iT

of'

exclusion

l1iance

d been proc

'\rihi

18

to

the

to

colored c

s i ns

clause

each state

would decide for itself

it wished to include third

to It the need i'o1'

The lienee activities to

itself in secrecy

A llience

liance,

in contra st,

had from tree very e the IIort h sm-l

the nead for secrecy in its activi ties no need for secrecy e.nd the South was

to ezpose its

or te

but the

not s

bee

of

or

sourc

of

of

the and lances

1

in

&

It

cand leotians .. tll2,t tIle id

so Allir:.nce

s

Here too

a.

the t\'iO same ends.22

to achieve

the conference dre,'! to a close four specific a reas of activi 1'16re to

as the

11anco '{ia

j or aims of t11e

liance Yll0Ver",1ent.

social

to be

si

crooted in locnl communities to aid

, material, snd spiritual

of

orises or

or

groups 1:[ero

1vas

end

e members

some loss

on the

v[aS b8Ck on its feet

sid until

calendar was used as an exouse to special

These

an

the

offered

for members in a

and en.scuss

to

,

sick

.

and accomplishments.

miles or more to corne to an

1 A second aUll

tho Alliance

s education

but in the

S

lisl1L1ent of

-10-

and South

In 1:101 ,

col

e

see

fun

to

,

to discussio n of

the latest

nel'l innova tiona tha t ',las fertil

end every

any Iso

farmers.

tural

for the estab-

Leges i'lhere f'8.rmers could learn adve.nced c

s. means of

the

that

came the

these

lishment of

ided on crop

education,

farnel's neVi und

was stressed

as a

of hO\'1 to solve their

and be better farmers and businessmena sett

third aim of the J\l1isnce was financiaL elevetors and

and in the South,

up especially

the

to ease the

them easy credit

burden and

better financial

ition, the members of the

,vould

sny

t to

s

their of

fins

the

cor!i!!1unitie

llicnc

was

the

into state and national active

,

to

hold that the railroads had on of to tes

in

itical

and in

liance

the achieve some

control of

It vias

this

control of the control the

-1 --

t ret latures in rather

executiva o ffices vihieh directed

axe

Sine

little real power to enect sla.tiv

in

no

ential election, it i·ras

considered a off-election year enthusi8sm

i

iticians

of the Allianc ..

lacent

e In the

rude

and South

the

Al

in r'�orth Dakota,

lliance states

Kansas,

of lican

into the

Iov1a,

, and

Illinois,

In many cases this meant tha.t 'l'lhile the

to win the elections, the

Nebraska,

elected full s

candidates to local offices, and ate de

"

there vras little

the elections.

wi th the exc

,

enforce

Hance failed

icans, many of them

incum-

bents, also lost and Democrats took over in many of the state slatures..

'fhe

control o f the

di

discontent and

e

the

s.

e

rolina The

the

iance leader

lliance controlled the sDuri, Missi

Tennessee!>

In

1

'{las elected

Ben

in Ala. bama , Carolina,

ition to

success in state elections and three

the Alliances vvere able to elect s to

in

traditional

2-

of

lic8.ns

in the north and i'iest

in the South had

the old Democratic

'J.'he idea of a success-

their conservative pa

an

no

Encourages

their successes the Southern Alliance

Florida, in December 1890. and the

d

t firs':

, and six

the

cone

o'Vmer

but ad-

for free silver for several yeers

Second ''laS abolition of the nRtional banks; nd tel

of rai

of alien

,

the president

tIe

for them in the

had been

vlith little success.

II

:;;m d South very

'11hich 'v,'ould prove political

states

In essence

free silver, an issue

s$

ineated as their common

i'/hich

in

llience at

the saae

liances

t Ocala

of reform for the future.

snecific the two

4

ble d

ident,

ition

fourth,

a constitutional 8Jnendment to elect ("lnd all sene tors

d

of the Australian ballot

sixth,

third,

vote of the ..

25

last two demands Vlere to be successful and the issue of free silver or nati the

In

1 e lection issue. South 'Vlere faced with the most difficult

pp"

1

-1

d

establish

eo te slate

for in

Or'

s

local elections a

di

nominated

thema to southerners,as their candidate for ,"[ould aJriiost

liance

ther join the new third

Democra

candidate, even

had

believed in

the

it meant

nd

inst

sVlallovTed their distate and folloTtled stl"tes v/here the third heated and

had

and the 08ro11n2s, the

to be in

The

in t

81

r

In

too,

hethe pro£:rs.m unaI'p

to many" st

the third tried

tson

nor

here it tvas a case of"

'rhe c9ndidates '�Jere

Tom

man;{ votes as there

third

voters.

ee

, bribery,

tricks of the li!:moe

the

but in the bal

j

1

nt

,"las

the

Democre, tic ma.chine

all

those

line.

In

third

but most

did buck the pa

in the

the

-1

but 8.1

s

the

notional d

in

unified

a

itical movement ,,,as after t he disasterous election of to lose its

and much of its

PoUtical

st movement had failed,

b

ishments

but it did achieve

sult

the

,

, "Toman

seventeenth

for direct election elections for po

e,

Qf

the

sen8tors was

nomina.tions becefrne the comraon

and both the referendum and recall beCAme

of our govern-

2.ddi tion to these very positive accompl the

lli€mc

Ie for the federal

movement vras tion of the currency

and for

cU.lminated in the esta lishment of the of

llie.nce and the

the intense

Hies

Democre. ts in

the

SO�1.th

9

ed to undermine

i

the

licans in the "lOuld

:Never

the

"

in th8.t the

0_

\.,

South.

It

of this

-1

the same

be

to

1

to the .is f'inal

11

be

1

b

itiolll

oos , the

11il1noo advoc8ted

mont of

eventual

rsl

is.nce Emd

Na tional

vias fir s t formed

or

tion in Houston County,

\vhite

orod Alliance

tion.

the first he

in 1867.

this Vias the 8.

white c onvention

of existence of

for

11

farmers

W8S

virtual

Thus the

to

out in the years fro:l1

in the year

in

ry

leaders had

1 as

The earliest

been the Patrons of

of Richmond,

The

T'his

but the rest of the officials v,ere

bellurn

state-

hnd achieved national status.

of the

, D. C.

s the Colored

On December 29, 1886, it became

flnd

ist missionary,

t o be known tive Union"

1?S B. local

'rexas, on December 11

i8h-

est!?

se of economic

e secret rituals of the a"?pealed to the

ed

fanners. in such a.n

Alliance

tion ,

es of

,

II

the

social

the love of'

of the

secrecy

of cooperative M�obile, and

In

the Colored Alliance be,gan

li

a

lled the National Alliance

counter-

was to be the

Alliance's

the t the

lliance

to ace

be seen in the Declaration of

lish ultimate

of

can

Colored Alliance:

liTo elevate the colored people of the United St8tes them to love their

and their homes;

less and sick and destitute;

more for their

for the education

more

in

espec

to CRre

to labor

themselves and their

turnl pursuits

become better farmers e,nd laborers and less . 1tjastemethods of

ful i n II

be more obedient to the civil law and vIithdral"l their itical bec

ored

b etter citizens Rnd truer

liance

s 8.nd 1trives. II

sou,ht close ties 1trith

est

in effect more

results

not Alliance in the first

to every state lace I'ras ll:ost

northern Al iance groups all el

their

ctive in

South, since

1

members in the any real need for

s behreen

colored

E

1

v,hite and colored Alliances varied

in degree f'rom state to stste"

In

no

there

et1tleen the hiO,

34

v;hile in

hard to in southern re18tions.

TIlere are several reasons for this di ,

in

,

in

the

the

\Vere car cons

bosses, the

to be

a.ddition

such

JUlianoe vias not

in North

e white

.,,-TQuld leave the state and be sett the

\i'hen

on did ste.rt

of the

northward in

s in

num b ers in the

s

e

o f the Southern c

th,'1.t one of the

of the

In

tural

a

t enant be

iance..

in the South

tha.t this ten8.nt Then lilhen

'tihite

of the

, many

\-lith mass

Oarolinians protested

the

of voters a.nd the curtailment of educational t had led many as

oppressive

In led

s to abandon the state

in

I'fatson and the

not only

desired

and

the for the W3.y to a neYl re Is

the whites in t held the

se of

for the

It 1IlaS a v8.liant and At in

the

tothe colored

there i"l2 S a

young Tom itl8tson.

and cond

gro e conomica

to break

futile,

tic

beliefsliW

Ocala convention for the Southern the

Alliance also met at

conventions the tvlO Alliance of over four mill over hlO million

and

s emer

I iance

these tv.lO virtually fused into one

members

llion members

liance

1Il1'dle of the

in

-1

convention

s

the

subtreasury plan land loans of money to ohibit det'l 3

per

in futures

free coinage of silver of land land

limit

revise the tariff in the intere,}t of' the

er

incoI:1e t ax

control of the rai

7

e lec

of

States Senators

irect voto of the

people

e those

seven c

from the Southern

and the Northern tiOi:101

1

Omaha

1 iance

convention in

1 ie.nce

the

on the colored It i'iaS from this

a

lli8.nce C('Dvention st national

$

in

The motion 'das the call

lienee

the Colored Al iance ivas

lin

"

-20-

that it the

to

Alli8.nce in the in

of'

been several

the Oolored 1

call

for a

oourse infuriated Southern farmers s of

those vlho v.roro so

outhern Alliance

the enac

This of

strike of cotton

llirmce

Force

of

favored

and

111anoe

the di

of

in times until the election of 1892

From

on suffr"nce only, since it yfaS

in the South stood that the

were to have no chance to ydne

1 undersituation in

of the small thG

1:las returned

the el ection of

to

federal supervision of

lioan voter nee

tion to the co

8

e��ercise of

the Hous

pm·mr , hOi'ieVer,

"

bill met

11

1 to vote

bill out of its

of the silver bil

make y{ay for the c in the

ov

on the

this , end there

-21-

feel



of

usua

it

in to be a

into its constitution v�hat fonnula for elimina the election

vote®

the

the third

was a

and

Kansas "ias one of the first states to appeal to the for

Severe.l

1 to

and there vias an acti ve drive to in the election.

for

In Texas, too, there i'iaS an

I

the

to run for certain offices and to generally activities in search of

appes.l for S He t'l.Vl. 't'�esG 47

been

have al

in

noted"

t otal member

lUanee boasted

nOvl the

were

the southern

In

of two million

,

nee

fir

the Oolored Al iance

the creation had be

discu.ssions

rets

since the

one or it

their pre idential nominee for the rorthc

I1t:td chosen the

national

All

southerners

stood

chance of

Democratic machine and

control over southern

di

--'"

of

�22-

vio"{,s

because of his f'inancial

Thus

HUlh�Htltion r allied

to

the l'he

on

in the South had

OVer the years since reconst:n
of the

1

of

vi

to exercise their constitutional

in the South

election of

s pa

but at tho Ramo time called it self 8 left the Co the

liance sts

8a\1 that

in the midd Ie. stood

chance at least of

8

the same

s.

in Southern

influence and

were threatened

bea

their

in countIes

tion vJh8tever

d ied

in effect, boiled

election o f

m'in

control in the South •

1 lca./.

tte

coerced

an

ll-out

tever sures

neceSS8 ry

in t o the it

sanctioned. vote e,

the

still had sufficient reason

nd in some cS.ses to fe

reasonably certain that their can-

in when the

viere c

the

s

, Texas, and the

the

to mere fantasies"

.....

s had of all,

.

VlCI.-Orl.es. in

the threat of 8. third party successful

on Democratic

racist Democrat

to make the The threat

the third PC;)

ed dOvln to one en entente

the

any

stood Ii ttle real chFll1c e of the than a

to son.

or to the

tic nominee viSS ..

in the southern persona

the

c

;',e1'e more nurnorous than

t since could outvote

ed

Southern

(a

in the

in

the numerical

in

COlmcil

over-

S

and \�lith the

the

of s to

to 'f/hite

at

in

'rhe mer e three t of

s.

to

to the new leaders of the

race 11 unsure of hoi': successful thier had

rats re:

to ches

, and mentioned before, Tom there 'f,ere and

on election

of voters were all "lost

t\vice

(5 S

many votes as Alabama

voters in his as

were beaten or bribed or as

came to

'!lere turned avtay from the

1s on every was in 'I'hird

to

to vote to avoid

ace

lives

necessary to win.

determined to

, and their

if

up to

on

in

ke it lots

ts to steGl in slleces

0

a

of the Southern Alliance

ca

bove all else the

iilesl force. that

vlere a

s

so s

factor in to

subordinate

must

economic

to

s

of the

to offset Democrstic tactios

]?rom

eny real

this move meet wi

"nd even here it illas more

of

their

Unf'ortun'"'

tho

lliance had c The Democretic

sleture in the South

in the

every

ed

s virtual

run the

test, h8d the l\l1iance rest

failed so

offers

p II

es

hate the ne'cT people

1 supremacy of their aristocratic rule

to who have

into actus.l

tion,

as not even the

Iicans

critical examination to find the cause

raL'1ovitz

the fro:n its -white the

the

lli2.nce

s t ride to

d made a

Their establishment of a

,

of their m-ffi third

olitical

the

of the

movement made the

of the

ritual

te.nt in itself"

lliance

manls

Sh8 A

1 need for association with the S01).thern Alli ance men and 1:mmen

o f two

this

group.

endent, u:1ified

1\

sep8ra�

niz.ation

ceB.sed to be a in the

the

many southerners

of

for the

the

after

vias 8bsorbed into the

Al

become a

some

iiith the idea of disfranchi

It to fake election resul ts

the need that the r esult

, however,

that

every chenoe of

For not

it Trias tree. ted

the colla se of to the

and "muld

at least a fair el

if not in a

the time

vlOuld remOVe

of the

that

after

1896

in Ie poal ticn 'IThiah and

ord

been

ion behleen

in "chne neve broken

ho

Emd '''hite had enaoted measures

des

1

voters

taxes� every state cons

9.11

i'irst

of

tests viere ssive measures were

tl1€

suIt

out of

r

the debetes over the

1.

e

the emergence of the Oolored south had been

shaken to

the une:x-

d

e of a

p

',las no mes.ger

and take vlhatever

to Nov.r,

the itlhites

viera

penniless,

ted,

in in a

j

life.

s ::lnd their

DOllllnon effort to It

st rs ,,[:;0,

in 1

nationol the

terial

It ,\lias also

Iit tl so

tha t the

their

'1 • .L, ..

re

s

,

.Lll.,..1.Ca .L

t

a to

their causo,

the members of their race to

do more than or tslk

in l11en such

bout S8

look back to

So

domination.

to do

vms

Hnd to the

in the e1 to the

s

their

could make the

All �:he vihi te southerner

force in southEiitrn

8S

in 1892 to see i-rhat

as

in the

vIas

to

to vote southerners t'tould never be free of the £e81" of sement v,'as the only

j

.;.....--

-------

June 1891,

Science

, Leonidas [email protected],

s Discontent,1I

P.meri08,n ---

tion," Forum,

Atlanta .Oonsti

��4

• _____

, 1890

h"

December

5, 1890

December 8, October 6, 'fribune,

1890 1892

1880 ,

---�.'

1890

1890

----,

Ja.nuary December 1,

Arnett,

,

",:",,",,,-�-

, t'lilliam

Ph. D" The

in America, Neltl

of' Kansas,

Society,

., Press,

----

)veaver,

sity of'

Im'i'a

s,

, Politics, and the

r in American

�------

,

"

L oui si e.na

Baton

�----�

, Helen

.,

��8.sters Thesis,