Omaha Platform

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The Omaha Platform was the party program adopted at the formative convention of the Populist (or People's) Party held in Omaha, Nebraska on July 4, 1892.

Significance of the Omaha Platform[edit]

The platform preamble was written by Ignatius L. Donnelly. The planks themselves represent the merger of the agrarian concerns of the Farmers' Alliance with the free-currency monetarism of the Greenback Party while explicitly endorsing the goals of the largely urban Knights of Labor. In the words of Donnelly's preamble, the convention was "[a]ssembled on the anniversary of the birthday of the nation, and filled with the spirit of the grand general and chieftain who established our independence, we seek to restore the government of the Republic to the hands of the plain people, with which class it originated." The Omaha Platform called for a wide range of social reforms, including a reduction in the working day, a “safe, sound, and flexible” national currency, assistance to farmers with the financing of their labours, “fair and liberal pensions to ex-Union soldiers and sailors,” the direct election of Senators, single-terms for Presidents and Vice-Presidents, “the legislative system known as the initiative and referendum,” “the unperverted Australian of secret ballot system,” the nationalization of the railroads, the telegraph, and the telephone systems, a postal savings, “a graduated income tax,” and “the free and unlimited coinage of silver.”

The Populist, or People's, Party went on to capture 11 seats in the United States House of Representatives, several governors and the state legislatures of Kansas, Nebraska and North Carolina. 1892 Presidential nominee and former Greenbacker James B. Weaver received over a million popular votes, and won four states (Colorado, Kansas, Idaho, and Nevada) and 22 electoral votes. The Party's legislative majorities were thereafter able to elect several United States Senators. Taken as a whole, the electoral accomplishments of the Populist Party represent the high water mark for a United States third party after the Civil War.

In 1896, the Populists abandoned the Omaha Platform and endorsed Democratic nominee William Jennings Bryan on the basis of a single-plank free silver platform.

See also[edit]


  • The World Almanac, 1893 (New York: 1893), 83–85. Reprinted in George Brown Tindall, ed., A Populist Reader, Selections from the Works of American Populist Leaders (New York: Harper & Row, 1966), 90–96.
  • People's Party Platform, Omaha Morning World-Herald, 5 July 1892.

Further reading[edit]

  • Goodwynn, Lawrence. The Populist Moment: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America. Oxford University Press, USA (November 30, 1978). ISBN 0-19-502417-6.
  • Brogan, Hugh, The Penguin History of the United States of America (1990 edition).
  • Hicks, John D. The Populist Revolt: A History of the Farmers Alliance and the Peoples Party. Bison (1970). ASIN B000HL905S.

External links[edit]