There were many problems faced by both farmers and immigrants in the late 1800’s. The economy was very shaky, the government was not stepping up to help, and the immigrants faced harsh times in their coming to America. Eventually many groups were formed to help with these issues.
Farmers faced many issues in the 1800’s. First off, debt was a huge issue for farmers. Falling crop prices, unpaid loans, and crashing banks all led to the huge debt of farmers. Because the crop prices were falling in the horrible economy loans could not be paid back, unemployment soared, and businesses went under.
There was also the tariff issue. Tariffs on imported goods were discouraging people to buy these products. They raised the prices of manufactured goods, and tariffs were also placed on U. S. goods in other countries, which led to a reduced world market for American crops. Thirdly the money supply was a huge issue. The money supply is the amount of money in the economy. If the money supply is increased, inflation occurs, and the value of every dollar drops.
With inflation, farmers are helped because the crop prices are raised.But, if the money supply is decreases, and deflation occurs, the prices of crops are lowered and farmers’ profits are affected. Farmers also called for free silver, rather than a bimetallic standard. They said that ending silver would lower farm prices. The Bland-Allison Act was a help for farmers, calling for the government to coin more silver, increase the money supply, and cause inflation. Lastly, natural disasters played a big role for farmers. Natural disasters such as blizzards and droughts led to destroyed crops and a drop in the profit of farmers.Immigrants also faced many problems in their coming to America.
First off, on the trip over to America, immigrants traveled in steerage, with very limited toilet facilities, no privacy, and poor food. Then as they arrived, it was either on Ellis or Angel Island that they were tested for diseases. If an immigrant had a disease he/she would be quarantined to prevent spread of disease. Immigrants were also bothered by crimes at the ports, and luggage and money was stolen. Most people settled in ghettos, where there was a common language and common traditions to their homelands.In the ghettos, the immigrants lived in tenements, run down apartments crammed with people, and horrible living conditions. In these neighborhoods, also known as slums, there was polluted air and water, packed apartments, and diseases that were spread quickly.
They were also harmed by fire that could destroy a neighborhood very quickly. Overall the immigrants living conditions were nothing like they had ever imagined in their dream to come to America. As all of these issues were unfolding, the government was doing little to nothing to help. Mainly because they didn’t have the power to step in. n every election ranging from 1880 to 1892, there wasn’t a candidate who won the majority of the popular vote. The government did try to help out though, with the Texas Seed Bill: providing seed grain to drought victims.
They also tried the Interstate Commerce Act to regulate the prices of shipping through railroads, basing the cost in proportion to the distance traveled. Many groups were developed to help with these issues. The Grange developed by Oliver H Kelley to help farmers form cooperatives to buy large quantities of goods for low prices.They also pressured State Legislatures to regulate business on which farmers depended. The Farmers’ Alliance called for federal regulation of railroads, more money in circulation, and creation of state department of agriculture, anti-trust laws, and farm credit. The Populists were another group developed, they supported increased circulation of money, unlimited minting of silver, a progressive income tax, and government ownership of communications and transportations systems.
For immigrants, the Charity Organization Society was developed.The COS kept detailed files on people who received help to determine how to serve the people, and who needed the most help. Also the Social Gospel Movement and the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ was established. They were trying to promote the gospel directly to society. They provided improved living conditions, and a share of national wealth for all workers. Lastly, the Settlement Movement was a huge success.
Settlement Houses were created to offer a kind of community center. People believed by living with the needy they could determine what help they really needed. Ellen Gates Starr nd Joan Addams both developed the Hull House to offer help, take classes, get help with jobs, and even help with legal problems. The Settlement Movement was one of the most helpful organizations. Farmers and Immigrants faced many problems during the Gilded Age. With limited government help, the people stepped up and developed all kinds of groups to help the nation. The Grange, the Farmers’ Alliance, and the Populists all helped farmers with all of their issues.
The COS, Social Gospel Movement, and Settlement Houses all helped with the immigrants and the poor. In the end, many of the issues had been addressed.