My research studies the role of the media in American democracy. I examine the relationship between the press and a Gilded Age social and political movement. The journalists of the Farmers’ Alliance and People’s Party exercised great influence over and provided critical support to the agrarian and labor movement of the late-nineteenth century. The reform press tried to overcome the structural and monetary advantage enjoyed by the press loyal to the movement’s opponents by experimenting with different forms of newspaper financing, organization, and leadership. After the failure of the Populists, the Republican and Democratic parties and their allies in the press imposed economic, institutional, and legal barriers that prevented the rise of a press loyal to a third party.
The featured image on this page is an advertisement for the Garnett Kansas Agitator that appeared in the Winfield (Kansas) American Nonconformist on May 7, 1891.