Annotated Bibliography

I have included a briefly annotated bibliography for those of you who wish to pursue this subject. A great many books exist on the subject, but I found these particularly relevant and useful.

Hofstadter, Richard. The Age of Reform: From Bryan to F.D.R. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1955.

This book remains a landmark study in the era defined in the title. He focuses on the relationship between early reform movements and traditional agrarian mythology, providing an interesting backdrop for the events of the late 19th and early 20th Century. He also points out a possible flaw of his own work: that it is entangled with its own time. He recognizes the dangers of reading previous events in light of the 1950s. However, his book remains clear today, and he proposes ideas that cannot be ignored.

Kazin, Michael. The Populist Persuasion: An American History. New York: BasicBooks, 1995.

Kazin traces the history of Populism over the course of its history. He has a particularly political leaning in this job, as he writes to make "sense of a painful experience: the decline of the American Left, including its liberal component, and the rise of the Right" (ix). Kazin provides an interesting work in his tracing of a large history, and his analyses of the transitions between different periods of reform. He views populism as continuing not as a strict ideology, but as a form of expression of various peoples and movements. Finally, Kazin also examines the semantic issues that surround the word "populist" today.

McMath, Robert C., Jr. American Populism: A Social History 1877-1898. American Century Series. New York: Hill and Wang, 1993.

This book provides us with a look most precisely concurrent with the era we have been examining. McMath actually starts a little earlier than his title suggests, as he examines the culture of the West and the South that gave birth to the Populist movement. He closes with a brief look at contemporary uses of the word "populist" and the legacy left from the 1890s. Importantly, his book is carefully indexed, and includes a lengthy bibliographical essay.

Taggart, Paul. Populism. Concepts in the Social Sciences. Philadelphia: Open University Press, 2000.

Taggart's work provides us with an overview of various forms of populism in different parts of the world. He attempts to define populism, while bringing its different manifestations out of academic isolation. This book provides a good start on the subject, but--due to its nature--does not go as deep into any particular area. The text's strength comes from its portrayal of both the similarities and differences of international experiences of populism.

Trachtenberg, Alan. The Incorporation of America: Culture and Society in the Gilded Age. New York: Hill and Wang, 1982.

This book, of course, was the fundamental text for this project. As his book's title suggest, Trachtenberg examines the new corporate nature of the United States that developed in the last half of the 19th Century. He argues persuasively on a number of subjects from that time period, and his work remains a seminal text. The one weakness, as I've tried to show in this project, is that he sometimes overlooks or minimalizes other influences on American culture.

Useful Links

Presidential Elections, 1789-1996--A quick look at all of our presidential elections (except 2000), including third-parties.

The Greenback Party--A very cursory look at an important third party.

William Jennings Bryan Recognition Project--A comprehensive site on an influential political figure.

James B. Weaver--A brief biography on the general and politician.

1896--A large site specifically on the 1896 presidential election.

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