Florida Agriculture and the Collapse of the State Farmers Alliance, 1880-1891


  • Shira Birnbaum


In the last half of the 19th century, a new national economic system emerged from the factory expansions of the Civil War. Characterized by tight money supplies, expensive credit, and powerful bankers and railroad monopolies, the post-war economic regime established an industrialist class in Northeastern cities while leaving millions in poverty and farm tenancy in the countryside, particularly in the South and the Midwest. In the process, it set in motion a new populist consciousness among the poor. The Farmers Alliance was one of many organizational expressions of this emerging consciousness.