The Red Dragon of Wall Street
vs. the Farmer
March 1891 — Populist rally, Kansas City KS
This is a nation of inconsistencies. The Puritans fleeing from oppression became oppressors. We fought England for our own liberty and put chains on four million of blacks. We wiped out slavery and by our own tariff laws and national banks began a system of white wage slavery worse than the first.
Wall Street owns this country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street and for Wall Street. The great common people of this country are slaves, and monopoly is the master. The West and South are bound and prostrate before the manufacturing East. Money rules and our Vice President is a London banker. Our laws are the output of a system which clothes rascals in robes and honesty in rags.
Money rules . . . the parties lie to us and the political speakers mislead us. Take [John J.] Ingalls for example. He waves the “bloody shirt” and he never smelled gunpowder in all his cowardly life. His war record confined to courtmartialing a chicken thief. In this People’s Party we find not only the boys who wore the blue but the boys who wore the grey. The North and South have been kept separated because of the unscrupulous scheming of the leaders of both political parties. Let us today cherish none but sacred and fraternal memories for the boys in the blue and the boys in grey. It was only those who skulked at home who all these years have kept up the strife between the North and South. The mortgage indebtedness and the opposition by the money power rests just as heavily on the Southern states as on the Federal states, just as heavily on the Democratic brother as on the Republican brother.
We were told two years ago in Kansas to go to work and raise a big crop, that was all we needed. We went to work and plowed and planted; the rains fell, the sun shone, nature smiled, and we raised the big crop they told us to; and what came of it? Corn 8 cents, oats 10 cents, beef 2 cents. No price at all for butter and eggs. That’s what came of it. Then the politicians said we suffered from overproduction. Overproduction, when 10,000 little children starve to death every year in the United States. When over 100,000 shop girls in New York are forced to sell their virtue for the bread their niggardly wages deny them.
Tarriff is not the paramount question. The main question is the money question. Kansas suffers from two great robbers, the Santa Fe railroad and the loan sharks. The common people are robbed to enrich their masters. There are thirty men in the United States whose aggregate wealth is over one and one-half billions of dollars. Go home and figure out how many paupers you must have to make one of those thirty men with the circulation only $10 per capita. There are on-half million tramps; that is, men looking for work.
What the Alliance wants are money, land and cheaper transportation. We want the abolition of national banks and we want power to make loans direct from the government. We want either the amendment or the accursed foreclosure system wiped out. Land equal to a tract thirty miles wide and ninety miles long in Kansas has been foreclosed on and bought in by the loan sharks in a year. We will stand by our homes and stay by our firesides by force if necessary, and we will not pay our debts to the loan shark companies until the government pays its debts to us. The people are at bay; let the bloodhounds of money who dog us beware!
Source: Kansas City Star, April 1, 1891.
Also: History of Kansas, State and People, ed. W. E. Connelly (Topeka: Lewis Publishing) 1928.