"Most histories of American populism end with William Jennings Bryan's defeat in the 1896 presidential election. But while the southern wing of the Populist movement collapsed after that election, the western wing did not--and it's this western populism that Nathan Jessen examines in Populism and Imperialism : Politics in the U.S. West, 1890-1900. Jessen aims to shed new light on the association between calls for economic reform and the emergence of America's overseas empire, and to examine the critical role western populists played in developing these connections"--Provided by publisher.
"In the final years of the nineteenth century, as a large-scale movement of farmers and laborers swept much the country, the United States engaged in an ostensibly anticolonial war against Spain and a colonial war of its own in the Philippines. How one related to the other--the nature of the activists' involvement in foreign policy debates and the influence of these wars upon the prospects for domestic reform--is what Nathan Jessen explores in Populism and Imperialism. American reformers at the turn of the twentieth century have long been misrepresented as accomplices of empire. Rather, as Populism and Imperialism makes clear, they were imperialism's chief opponents--and that opposition contributed to their ultimate defeat. Correcting the record, Jessen charts the fortunes of the Populists through the nineteenth century's last decade. He shows that, contrary to the standard narrative, Populists remained powerful in the West after the election of 1896; they only suffered their final political reverses in 1900 after being branded as unpatriotic traitors by their opponents. In fact, the Populists and Democrats in the West favored war with Spain for humanitarian reasons; some among them led the opposition to Hawaiian annexation and--as leaders of the anti-imperialists in Congress from 1899 on--the occupation of the Philippines. Jessen also addresses the little-studied 'money power' conspiracy theory that explains a key element of the Populist worldview. This theory, linking European imperialism and the growing economic and political power of financiers, also stirred Populist opposition to American imperialism. Populism and Imperialism revises a critical chapter in US history and offers lessons for the present as well as insights into the nation's past"--Provided by publisher.