"Age of Betrayal" by Jack Beatty, Knopf ISBN 978-1-40000-4028-5 - the "often shocking history of wealth over commonwealth" as the blurb has it. To the ignorant limey, the civil war and slavery ended and industrialiasms grew ,which produced modern America. Next week we do Poland.
This book provides a well documented and realistic account of the growth of the power of money - Beatty subtitles it, "The Triumph of Munny in America"
The Populist Revolt -- the most elaborate example of mass insurgency in American history when rail led expansion , the growth of chattel mortgages and decade of drought from 1887 saw corn selling at US$6.60 ana care that cost US$8.60 to grow and wheat that cost US$9.-4 to grow and was selling for $3.53 ... and could only be hauled by the Santa Fe railwroad who dictated the costs.
The Farmers Alliance grew into a third party which flowered and faded. In an age when a female President is a possibility it is forgotten that the Revolt produced a strong and famous female leader.
Mary Elizabeth Lease (The People's Joan of Arc ) and her line is remembered even if she isn't -" It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, for the people, but a Government of Wall Street,for Wall Steet, and by Wall Street".She is also (wrongly) credited with having told the farmers of Kansas--and, by implication, Populists generally--to "raise less corn and more hell." It was however coined by a fellow lecturer Ralph Beaumont. In later life Lease later observed that she let the comment stand as her own , when it was attributed to her, because she thought it was 'a right good piece of advice.'
She was one of the first lawyers in Kansas, a campaigner for women's suffrage, a prohibitionist (Prohibitionists viewed themselves as progressive reformers, not as conservatives) and freedom for Ireland the land of her forefathers. Even then she was remarked on for her anti-Jewsih sentiments with reference to Shylock and the Rothschilds, ling before the NDL, the Holocaust and AIPAC.
Mr Lease, the prototypical "house husband" stayed home and looked after the 4 young Lease's,(Charles, Louisa, Grace, and Ben Hurnamed after the Christian hero of Lew wallace's novel) , whilst she stomped the national circuit between 1890 and 1896 earning US$10 a night ..." a venomous tongue is the only marketable thing about the old harpy and we suppose she is justified in selling it where it commands the highest price" said one newspaper, as ever the mouthpiece of the money men.
Some opponents changed her middle name from Elizabeth to Ellen, so they could call her "Yellin' Mary Ellen."
after divorcing her long suffering husband she moved to New York City taking the children with her and worked as a lawyer and lecturer for many years.
When Eugene Debs ran for president in 1908, Lease spoke on his behalf; by 1912 she became an admirer of Theodore Roosevelt and supported his bid to recapture the presidency, under the banner of the "Bull Moose" Progressive Party.
Before she died in 1933 , Lease had witnessed the passage of many of her cherished goals: prohibition, woman suffrage, and several planks of the long-defunct Populist platform--including direct election of Senators and more federal regulation of corporations and railroads.
Annie Diggs was pocket rocket, a small dynamo of miklitant suffragism , was to recall in 1901 when the battles of the Populist revolt were nearly out.." the revolt was rooted less in the economic distress that in the peopl's dsicovery that the national machinery of both the Republican and Democratic parties was set to the service of the service of the privileged classes and of commercial combinations." ....and so say all of us.
A view consolidated by an old soldier Brig, L L Polk, who saw a gulf opening up.." You will see arrayed on one side the great magnates...and wall Street brokers, and the plutocratic power ; and on the other side you will see the people..."
Here is a contemporary account of Mary Lease speaking in the Republican newspaper New York Tribune, August 13, 1896 ....
It does not necessarily follow because Mrs. Lease somewhat unsexed herself by her indulgence in turbulent and inflammatory discourse at Cooper Union that all women are unfitted by Nature to participate in the excitement of political contests or to have a voice in the calm and deliberate discussions which ought always to attend upon the settlement of grave and serious governmental problems....
".....In the extravagance of her language, the wantonness and recklessness with which she appealed to class hatred, pointing out by name as the proper objects of popular vengeance good and honorable citizens whose only offence is the possession of property accumulated honestly under the laws, she may have seemed to be in advance of her party. But only a step; just enough to bring out with clearness and distinctness the real spirit and purpose of the revolutionists and Anarchists who are bent on the destruction of public credit and the overthrow of social order. A step behind this raging virago, foaming with fury and blazing with wrath, is the wild mob of levellers eager for the general distribution of spoils; behind them the Terror, with its bloody bacchanals and merciless savagery.