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Farmers' Alliance,

A political organization that originated soon after the close of the Civil War. The main purpose of this movement was the mutual protection of farmers against the encroachment of capital. The first body was organized in Texas to prevent the wholesale purchase of public land by private individuals. In 1887 the Farmers' Union of Louisiana united with the Texas organization under the name of the Farmers' Alliance and Co-operative Union of America. The movement soon spread into Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi. In 1889 a similar organization, which had been formed in 1877 in Illinois, and which had spread into neighboring States, was amalgamated with the Southern Alliance, and the name of Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union was adopted. The founders of the alliance held that the party was formed along political lines because the parties already existing failed to undertake to solve the problems covered by the demands of the alliance. In 1890 the alliance elected several governors, other State officers, and a few Congressmen. On May 19, 1891, delegates from the Farmers' Alliance, the Knights of Labor, and several other organizations met in a national convention in Cincinnati, adopted a platform, and formed a new political party under the name of the People's Party of the United States of America, which became contracted to Populist party. Another convention was held in St. Louis, Feb. 22, 1892, at which the Farmers' Alliance had 246 delegates out of the 656 present. It was not, however, until 1897 that the alliance dropped its old name, its interests having been by that time merged with those of the people's party (q. v.).

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