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About People's party paper. [volume] (Atlanta, Ga.) 1891-1898
Atlanta, Ga. (1891-1898)
- People's party paper. [volume] : (Atlanta, Ga.) 1891-1898
- Place of publication:
- Atlanta, Ga.
- Geographic coverage:
- [People's Paper Pub. Co.]
- Dates of publication:
- Began in 1891; ceased in 1898.
- Atlanta (Ga.)--Newspapers.
- Fulton County (Ga.)--Newspapers.
- Georgia--Fulton County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01211153
- "Populist." Cf. Ayer, 1937.
- Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
- Available on microfilm from the Library of Congress, Photoduplication Service, the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, and the University of Georgia Libraries.
- Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 9 (Nov. 26, 1891).
- Editor: T.E. Watson.
- Latest issue consulted: Vol. 6, no. 16 (Jan. 1, 1897).
- Official organ of: People's Party. State of Georgia.
- sn 83016235
- Succeeding Titles:
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- View complete holdings information
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People’s Party Paper
Thomas E. Watson, Charles C. Post, and Eliam Christian organized as the People's Party Publishing Company, established the People's Party Paper with its inaugural issue on October 1, 1891 in Atlanta, Georgia. The eight-page paper achieved a weekly circulation of 20,000 subscribers by the mid-1890s, and, with Watson as its editorial voice, became the preeminent sheet of Southern Populists. The paper's emergence occurred as members of the Farmers' Alliance, a cooperative agrarian movement established in the 1870s, debated the formation of their own political party. Watson, elected to Georgia's Tenth Congressional District as an Alliance Democrat in 1890, was instrumental in forming the first People's Party (Populist Party] caucus in 1891, which subsequently caused a schism within the Farmers' Alliance organization. Watson found himself at odds with both Democratic and Alliance newspapers in Georgia, resulting in the need for a newspaper of his own. Until Watson's return to Georgia in August 1892, Post served as managing editor and publisher for the People's Party Paper. In September 1892, Watson returned from Washington DC, purchased Post and Christian's shares in the People's Party Paper, and became sole owner until stepping down in 1894 to focus on his tasks as editor in chief.
For the next six years, Watson managed the People's Party Paper editorial department while traveling Georgia on speaking tours. Besides Watson's own editorials, letters, and speeches, the paper featured a wide variety of material including Populist poetry, agricultural advice, political cartoons, and lists of other Southern Populist newspapers. The campaign seasons of 1892 and 1894 were fraught ones, and the paper covered the "Bloody Tenth" district congressional races in detail. The Augusta Chronicle's Patrick Walsh backed Watson's Democratic opponent, Major J. C. C. Black, and sought to brand Watson a Democratic traitor and secret Republican. Besides the Augusta Chronicle, Watson editorially sparred with the Democratic The Atlanta Constitution, which he viewed as a tool of Atlanta's moneyed interests. Although Watson's 1892 and 1894 congressional bids were unsuccessful, he continued publishing the People's Party Paper, report Populist news, and criticize Democrats. From 1892 to 1893, the paper's guiding principles were often succinctly printed beneath the editorial box: "[this paper] will oppose to the bitter end the Hamiltonian Doctrines of Class Rule. Moneyed Aristocracy. National Banks. High Tariffs. Standing Armies and Formidable Navies: all of which go together as a system of oppressing the people."
The People's Party Paper was never a financially successful venture, at one point losing a hundred dollars a week. In an effort to progress the Populist cause, Watson often discounted his paper or offered it free during election seasons. The People's Party functionally collapsed after a failed attempt to nominate a presidential candidate in 1896, but the People's Party Paper continued circulation for two more years. Finally, in early October 1898, two years after the People's Party's demise, Watson could no longer keep the paper afloat. He put the materials up for sale and gave up pursuing political office for almost a decade.