Some Rhetoric from the Farmer's Movement

Grange Rhetoric

The farms of the United States, during the past twenty years, have increased in value as follows. From 1850 to 1860, one hundred and four per cent. From 1860 to 1870, five per cent. Think of it! New states and new territories have been added to the Union, and yet the increase in the value of farms has been since 1860 but five per cent. A sewing machine costs for the work and materials twelve dollars. We pay seventy dollars for it. The same machines are exported to Europe and sold for thirty-two dollars, after paying freight across the Atlantic. I found in the Belfast News of December 4, 1872, the advertisement of the Singer Sewing Machine for six pounds and ten shillings -- about thirty-two dollars and fifty cents of money. We pay the difference of nearly forty dollars under our patent laws, for being the most patient and gullible fools that ever pretended to a capacity for self-government.

Ignatius P. Donnelly, Lecturer of the Minnesota State Grange, published in a pamphlet of excerpts from his speeches entitled Facts for the Granges

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Farmer's Alliance

But we have not yet completed the enumeration of crimes perpetuated against the people of the country through this infernal system of legalized robbery. Having purchased their bonds with government money, depreciated from 38 to 60 percent (on account of the expansion clause) and having exempted them from taxation, with advanced interest payable in gold, it would seem that the climax of audacity had been reached. But who can fathom the greed of the money shark, or set bounds to the voracity of the civilized brigand? Mrs. S. E. V. Emery, printed in pamphlet Seven Financial Conspiracies which have enslaved the American people

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Mary Elizabeth Lease

We will stand by our homes an stay by our fire-sides by force, if necessary, and we will not pay our debts to the shark loan companies until the government pays its debts to us. The people are at bay; let the bloodhounds of money who have dogged them so far beware.

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Sockless Jerry Simpson

No one ever dared that the common farmer, reared without opportunities for securing more than a limited education, inured to toil, compelled to earn his bread by the sweat of the brow, unused to public debate, unskilled in political warfare, branded as an ignoramous, could stand for a moment unscathed before the fiery impetuous eloquence of the full armored well-equiped Prince. The Prince of royal blook travels in his special car, his dainty person gorgeously bedazzled, his soft white hands are pretty things to look at, his tender feet are encased in fine silk sock hosery, what does he know of the life and toil of such plow handlers as we are.

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