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The Agrarian Crusade; a chronicle of the farmer in politics   By: (1884-1962)

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"The Agrarian Crusade; a Chronicle of the Farmer in Politics" by Solon J. Buck offers an insightful and comprehensive exploration of the farmers' political movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the United States. Buck skillfully brings history to life, diving into the struggles, triumphs, and the political significance of the agrarian movement during a time of immense socio-economic change.

The book is divided into clear sections that allow readers to follow the evolution of the agrarian crusade chronologically. Buck starts by delving into the challenges faced by farmers in post-Civil War America, highlighting issues such as high interest rates, unfair railroad practices, and the disparity between urban and rural areas. By effectively presenting the historical context, the author sets the stage for the rise of the agrarian movement and its eventual impact on national politics.

One of the book's strengths is its balanced approach to presenting different perspectives within the agrarian movement. Buck examines the evolution of thoughts and ideologies among farmers, detailing the various groups and organizations that played crucial roles in shaping the movement. From the Grange and Farmers' Alliances to the Populist Party, the author delves into the motivations, beliefs, and sometimes conflicting interests of these groups, offering readers a multi-faceted understanding of the farmer's political struggle.

Buck's meticulous research and attention to detail are apparent throughout the book. He provides ample evidence, using primary sources and historical records, to support his arguments, ensuring that the book feels both academically rigorous and engaging. The author also discusses key political figures of the time, such as William Jennings Bryan and Tom Watson, shedding light on their roles in the agrarian movement and illustrating how individual politicians used the movement as a platform for their own aspirations.

The Agrarian Crusade is not solely focused on the farmers' political endeavors; it also addresses the agricultural and economic challenges they faced. Buck examines the impact of technological advancements, changes in farming methods, and the increasing influence of corporations on the agriculture sector. This broader perspective enriches the reader's understanding of the agrarian movement, as it helps to illustrate the complex interplay between economic, social, and political factors.

One minor criticism of the book is that at times it can feel slightly overwhelming due to the sheer amount of information presented. However, this could be attributed to the book's ambition to provide a comprehensive account of the agrarian crusade and the multitude of events and figures involved. Despite this, Buck's writing style remains clear and accessible, ensuring that readers with various levels of familiarity with the topic can fully appreciate and understand the material.

In conclusion, Solon J. Buck's "The Agrarian Crusade; a Chronicle of the Farmer in Politics" is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in American history, politics, or agricultural development. The book offers a detailed, well-researched account of the farmers' political movement, highlighting its significance and long-lasting impact on national politics. Buck's balanced approach, engaging narrative, and meticulous research make this book an essential addition to any history enthusiast's library.

First Page:



By Solon J. Buck

Volume 45, The Chronicles Of America Series

Allen Johnson, Editor


Rapid growth accompanied by a somewhat painful readjustment has been one of the leading characteristics of the history of the United States during the last half century. In the West the change has been so swift and spectacular as to approach a complete metamorphosis. With the passing of the frontier has gone something of the old freedom and the old opportunity; and the inevitable change has brought forth inevitable protest, particularly from the agricultural class. Simple farming communities have wakened to find themselves complex industrial regions in which the farmers have frequently lost their former preferred position. The result has been a series of radical agitations on the part of farmers determined to better their lot. These movements have manifested different degrees of coherence and intelligence, but all have had something of the same purpose and spirit, and all may justly be considered as stages of the still unfinished agrarian crusade. This book is an attempt to sketch the course and to reproduce the spirit of that crusade from its inception with the Granger movement, through the Greenback and populist phases, to a climax in the battle for free silver... Continue reading book >>

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