After the Civil War and World War I

Junior (College 3rd year) ・History ・Chicago ・1 Sources

After the Civil War and World War I, which had a significant impact on their lives, American citizens, particularly those engaged in productive labor, yearned for a fresh start. They envisioned a rebirth of the physical, moral, and spiritual kind that would mark the beginning of the new, contemporary United States. Lears claimed that during this decade, farmers were dissatisfied with both the Republican and Democratic parties. According to Lears, this time period was marked by a desire for a significant shift that contributed to the creation of the modern United States. People yearned for positive societal changes in the economy, but loan-sharking businessmen, speculators, and bankers during the 19th century and the populist movement was one of the most important political movement that aimed to change the lives of a majority of the Americans. The party originated around the 1890s and spread quickly throughout the United States, and it was formed by members of the farmers’ alliances.

The South had been ravaged by the Civil War, and private, and public lives had been impacted. There was a common language of opposition to irresponsible wealth, a common expression that elevated public good over private gain. According to Lears, such ideas brought the wave of the populist movement and other democratic movements. These political movements challenged the regime at the time, and they helped pave the way for the growing insurgency that took place from the start of the twentieth century. According to Lears, the populists wanted the government to play a more active role in the economy of the country. They supported easy access to credit, recognition of unions, better conditions for the Americans working in factories, government taking over the rail, telephone, and telegraphs systems, and an advanced income tax. The populists led by their determined leaders demanded that money should be put under management that is democratic and that benefits the public. Through such strategies, the populist movement was able to appeal across regional boundaries and racial lines.


Lears, T. J. Jackson. 2009. Rebirth of a nation: the making of modern America, 1877-1920. New York: Happer Perennial.

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