This project was a quantitative historical study of the rise and fall of the Populist movement in the deep South during the period 1880-1900. Populism represented an attempt by small farmers and others whose means of subsistence rested in agricultural production to alter the political economy and the distribution of power among class and interest groups in the South and West. The strength of populism varied considerably across and within regions; this project sought to examine and explain these variations in agrarian economic and political insurgency.
The study used three primary sources of data. Two datasets were obtained from the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research: (a) Historical Demographic, Economic and Social Data: The United States, 1790-1970, and (b) United States Historical Election Returns, 1788-1979. A third dataset was constructed by Indianapolis Area Project [Sociological Research Practicum] staff directly from selected U.S. Bureau of Census tabulations on microfilm at the IU Library. Variables in these datasets describe population characteristics, agricultural productivity, and voting and other political activity for about 1262 counties in 11 Southern states.
This study was supported by funding from the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University-Bloomington.