Populism: Race and Populist Party Essay

Submitted By JPauch
Words: 621
Pages: 3

White women in Texas may have had a number of both commonalities and divergent views on the major issues of the populist movement, especially during a time when not only the role of women in American Society was limited due to gender and conventional ideologies, but men as well, which were dependent upon social class, status, and power.
The populist movement would reveal many differences between the Democratic and Republican parties, surrounding feelings towards race, economic independence and production to include land ownership, and a great deal of sectionalism among cultures and the classes. White women in Texas, an underlying yet significant impact, were alongside similar oppositions with society, in turn aspiring challenges which were placed into action among the parties involved in the populist movement.
Van C. Woodward makes a great proposition when he implies that the success of the Populist Party would depend upon the growth of the more unfortunate people of the south, mainly among poor whites, African Americans, laborers, farmers, and westerners, who were for the most part socially isolated and experiencing financial hardship.1 During the 1890’s, not only did women experience hardship and were among the underprivileged, men as well to include African Americans, poor whites, laborers and producers of small production, were also taken for much of their efforts by being underpaid and prevented from growth and opportunities like federal office positions, for example. According to the letters from The Southern Mercury, women had different views on where their role as women fit during this time, stressing women’s rights and independence, education, and their concern for Governmental reform. One point that should be identified that ties a commonality between the white Texas woman and the major issues of the Populist movement, is the notion of a “woman’s sphere”. The article from The Southern Mercury on August 28, 1988 discusses the ideology of the woman’s role in the eyes of the ruling man in the sense that a woman is limited to household duties and should not attempt to go beyond her “sphere” if it is anything other than such.2 This “invisible sphere” that has been associated with the female role, is a sort of paradox in a similar sense as in the situation of the rural farmer who continues to be exposed to a capitalist industry, limiting him to his own sphere, while preventing further growth and production for his own good, benefiting a cruel and dishonest economy, and stripping…