The Populist Vision by Charles PostelThe Populist Vision by Charles Postel

The Populist Vision

byCharles Postel

Paperback | April 17, 2009

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The Populist movement has been both dismissed as an irrational response of backward-looking farmers to modernity and romanticized as a resistance movement of tradition-based communities to modern, commercial society. Now, in a wide-ranging and provocative reassessment, based on a deep readingof archival sources, The Populist Vision argues the opposite - that the Populists understood themselves as, and in fact were, modern people, pursuing an alternative vision for modern America.Taking into account the leaders and the led, The Populist Vision uses a wide lens - focusing on the farmers, both black and white, men and women - but also looking at wage workers and bohemian urbanites. Ranging from Texas to the Dakotas, from Georgia to California, Charles Postel shows how farmerPopulists strove to use the new innovations for their own ends. They sought scientific and technical knowledge, formed highly centralized organizations, launched large-scale cooperative businesses, and pressed for reforms on the model of the nation's most elaborate bureaucracy - the Postal Service.Hundreds of thousands of women joined the movement, too, seeking education, employment in schools and offices, and a more modern life. Miners, railroad workers, and other labor Populists joined with farmers to give impetus to the regulatory state. Activists from Chicago, San Francisco, and othernew cities provided Populism with a dynamic urban dimension.The winner of a prestigious Bancroft Prize and the Organization of American Historian's Frederick Jackson Turner Award, this highly original account of the Populist movement is essential reading for anyone interested in the politics, society, and culture of modern America.
Charles Postel is Assistant Professor of History at California State University, Sacramento.
Title:The Populist VisionFormat:PaperbackDimensions:416 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.68 inPublished:April 17, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195384717

ISBN - 13:9780195384710

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Modern TimesPart One: Farmers1. Push and Energy: Boosterism and Rural Reform2. Knowledge and Power: Machinery of Modern Education3. A Better Woman: Independence of Thought and Action4. A Farmers' Trust: Cooperative Economies of ScalePart Two: Populists5. Business Politics: State Models and Political Frameworks6. Race Progress: Racial Ordering of American Life7. Confederation: Labor, Urban, and Nonconformist Reform8. Shrine of Science: Innovation in Populist FaithConclusion: Populist Defeat and its MeaningSources

Editorial Reviews

"Postel's revaluation of the Populists seeks to make the best parts of their vision relevant to a generation once again troubled by corporate greed and a growing economic chasm between rich and poor. His Populists were not behind, but ahead of their time. They still are." --R. Laurence Moore, Cornell University