Question: Resolved that the Farmers' Alliance as a political movement should be encouraged.
Brief for the Affirmative
F. R. CLOW and J. CUMMINGS.
Best general references: H. R. Chamberlain, "The Farmers' Alliance;" W. A. Peffer, "The Way Out;" article by Peffer in Cosmopolitan April, 1891 articles by D. R. Goodloe and W. Gladden in Forum, Nov., 1890; J. E. Rusk in N. A. Review, April, 1891; Alliance papers, e. g.: The National Economist, The Farm, Stock and Home, The Great West.
I. The Alliance movement is a spontaneous uprising occasioned by financial distress among the farmers. Chamberlain, pp. 87, 88; Forum, X, pp. 315, 316, 346-55; Farm Stock and Home, May 1, 1890, p. 204.
II. Many of the grievances of the farmers can be remedied by legislation-[a] contraction of the currency; [b] protective tariff; [c] artificial manipulation of prices [d] extortions and frauds of middle-men railroad companies, elevator companies and manufacturers. The alliance will assist in securing the remedy. Farm, Stock and Home, 1890-May 1, pp. 202-4; June 15, 246; Aug. 1, 302; Aug. 15, 307; 1891-Mar. 1, 123-4; Mar. 23, 145; Forum, IX, p. 332; Public Opinion. IX, 241 and VII, 520; Great West, Mar. 27, 1891, article on grain gambling; The Way Out, pp. 1-10, 23, 24; Report Minn. RR. Com., 1888, pp. 63, 85, 108.
III. The primary cause of these grievances is that the farmers have not had their due share of political influence.- [a] Other classes increase their influence by combination.- [b] As farmers live in thinly populated districts they have especial need of combination to secure political influence. The alliance movement is the best suited to meet this need. Chamberlain, pp. 3 and 4; Farm, Stock and Home, Dec. 1, 1890, p. 26 and Jan. 15, 1891, p. 66.
IV. The alliance movement will bring incidental benefits to the country.- [a] Removal of sectionalism in P/>politics. [b] Elimination of race prejudice.- [c] Encouragement of independent thinking among voters.- [d] Education of voters.- [e] Increase in the political power of a reliable class of voters.- [f] Purification of politics. Farm, Stock and Home, Aug. 15, 1890, p. 317 and Dec. 15, p. 35; Mar. 1, 1891, p. 121; Forum, X, 322; Chamberlain, ch. VI; Public Opinion, IX, pp. 216 and 361.
Brief for the negative.C. R. DETRICK and L. K. MORSE.
Best general references: H. R. Chamberlain, Farmers' Alliance, 13 21; 44-50, 52-64; Spectator Jan. 10, '91, p. 43; Nation LI, 84.
I. The Farmers' Alliance is a class party and therefore should not be encouraged; Public Opinion IX, 386, 408, X, 610.- [a] It creates antagonism between the classes and injures all, e. g. Granger movement of 1873.- [b] It must prove transitory like the Know-nothing and Greenback parties; Public Opinion IX, 216, 241, X, 217, 321, 610-1, Nation L, 69.
II. Its aims are hostile to the public welfare.- [a] Socialistic, e. g. Sub Treasury Scheme and Government control of Railroads; Public Opinion VIII, 532, IX, 167, 168, 241, 408, 475, X, 172, 219, 220, 565, 611, 613; Nation L, 404; Spectator, V, p. 44; Jan. 10, '91, American XXI, 23.- [b] Ruinous to our financial system, e. g. Abolition of National Banks and Free Silver: Public Opinion, IX, 408, X, 171, 217, 218; American XIX, 447; Nation LII, 104, 229, 230.- [c] Chimerical, e. g. Prevention of dealing in futures and lowering rate of interest; Public Opinion, VIII, 532, X, 219.
III. The actual results of the movement have been insignificant and injurious.- [a] Legislation in Nebraska, Minnesota and Kansas: Public Opinion X, 610, 612, 613; Nation L, 480; LI, 390, LII, 188, 291, 310.- [b] Driven many valuable men out of public life; LII, 229; Boston Post, March 18, 1891.
IV. Co-operation with one of the great parties must accomplish more for the farmer than a new party, e. g. Tariff reform; Nation LII, 22; Chamberlain, 45; Public Opinion, X, 170, 171, 322; Carlisle in Forum, 475, Roosevelt's Benton, 292.