Allied Peoples’ Party

The Allied People's Party was the last formal national organization that followed the Populists’ political teachings. It was the successor of the People's Party, which went down to defeat in the elections of 1896 and 1898. Divided by the issue of fusion with the older Democratic and Republican parties, the People's Party failed to post any notable victories in the election of 1900. As a result, the Allied People's Party, founded in April 1902, tried to offer supporters of almost all reform movements a political home. When the 1904 election cycle rolled around, however, the Allied People's Party failed to attract much notice. It quietly disappeared, and its members departed for other organizations.

In May 1899, the National Organization Committee met in Kansas City, Missouri, to recommend what the People's Party should do in the election of 1900. It called for an end to fusion and threatened to leave the People's Party if the nominating convention in 1900 named a Democrat as the Populist candidate for president. A meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, resulted in a split between fusionists and mid-roaders. The two groups met in separate conventions, in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, respectively. The fusionists selected Bryan as their presidential nominee again, while the mid-roaders picked Wharton Barker and Ignatius Donnelly as their ticket. Both men were older and lacked the energy for a campaign. The general election was a disaster. Both wings of the People's Party failed to attract significant numbers of votes. Most observers believed the election of 1900 was the end of the People's Party.

A few Populists from the mid-road faction believed their party could be resurrected. They called for a conference of all the reform parties in the United States. The delegates met in Kansas City on September 16, 1901. Representatives of seven parties attended. They included mid-road Populists, fusion Populists, Public Ownership Party members, the Referendum League, the Prohibition Party, Socialists, and the United Christian Party. The platform that the delegates adopted reflected the hopes of many Progressives. It called for public ownership of public utilities, initiative and referendum laws to allow the people to recall elected officials, and “scientific” money issued by the federal government that was not redeemable in gold or silver but was based on the wealth of the nation. The delegates also called for direct election of the president, vice president, federal judges, and U.S. senators by the people. A committee of five was appointed to direct the organization until a national convention was organized, to “unite reform forces against plutocracy” (“Allied People's Party”). The delegates also agreed to call themselves the Allied Party.

On July 5 and 6, 1904, the party met in Springfield, Illinois, to nominate candidates for president and vice president. Thomas E. Watson of Georgia was picked for the top spot, with T. H. Tibbles of Nebraska as his running mate. They attracted few votes in the general election. Four years later, the party again nominated Watson, with as little effect on the general election. By that time, many of the issues that had brought the Allied People's Party together had been adopted by the Republicans and Democrats, helping to end the reason for the party's existence.

Tim J Watts

See also: Bryan, William Jennings (1860–1925) ; Democratic Party ; Donnelly, Ignatius (1831–1901) ; Middle of the Road Populists ; People's Party ; Progressivism ; Prohibition (1919–1933) ; Third Parties ; Tibbles, Thomas Henry (1840–1928)

References

“Allied People's Party.” New York Times, April 4, 1902.

Hicks, John D. The Populist Revolt: A History of the Farmers’ Alliance and the People's Party. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1961.