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Kansas agitator. [volume] : (Garnett, Kan.) 1890-1905
Place of publication:
Garnett, Kan.
Geographic coverage:
  • Garnett, Anderson, Kansas  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
  • Greeley, Anderson, Kansas  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
  • Topeka, Shawnee, Kansas  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
W.O. Champe
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (June 7, 1890)-v. 15, no. 52 (May 19, 1905).
  • English
  • Garnett (Kan.)--Newspapers.
  • Kansas--Garnett.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01219099
  • "Populist." Cf. Ayer, Amer. newspaper annual, 1895.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Editor: W.O. Champe.
  • Simultaneously published in Greeley until 1891.
  • Simultaneously published in Topeka, Sept. 21, 1894-Feb. 22, 1895.
sn 83040052
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Kansas agitator. [volume] June 7, 1890 , Image 1


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Kansas Agitator

The Kansas Agitator of Garnett, Kansas, was founded by William O. Champe in 1890. Champe was the sole proprietor of the newspaper until its end in 1905, with Joseph M. Alexander, William E. Alexander, William H. Ambrose, and wife Anna Champe serving as associate editors at various times throughout its run. The Agitator was affiliated with the People's Party and published four to eight pages once weekly. Circulation reached 1,000 subscriptions in 1895 and exceeded that number by 1897 when the population of Garnett was just under 2,200. The Agitator was published simultaneously in nearby Greeley until 1891, and in Topeka, Kansas, from September 21, 1894, to February 22, 1895. The paper featured illustrative mastheads, regional and national news, frequent mentions of socialism and prohibition, a large amount of genealogical information, and continued heavy support for Populist ideals.

The Kansas Agitator published its first issue on June 7, 1890, with the motto "Devoted to the Interests of the Masses: A Wide-Awake Advocate of All the Reforms of the Day"; this slogan was later adapted to "A Fearless, Aggressive, Progressive Advocate of all Reforms." Champe was faithful to Populist ideals and strongly opposed the growing idea of fusionism with the Democratic Party: "If the Democratic party believed in People's party principles, or did the Republican party, then the organization of the People's party was folly to begin with, and to fuse with either party is virtually an admission that the People's party is not needed, has no distinct principles, and would stamp it as being merely a political excrescence." As far as elected officials were concerned, Champe was a staunch supporter of Kansas attorney William Alfred Peffer, the first Populist to be elected as United States Senator. When Peffer failed to be reelected in 1896 after six years in office (he was replaced by another Populist, one of only six ever to be elected to Senate), Champe stated that "His defeat was a mistake" and that Peffer was "the personification of honor, and he will return home loved and honored of all men."

The Kansas Agitator was one of the last Populist papers active in Kansas when in May 1905 it changed to the Independent Review after 15 years of publication; the Champe's continued to serve as editors and publishers. In the Review's first issue, the editors stated that they "believe our duty to join in the independent movement," and that "we do not abandon any of the principles for which we have been contending all these years, but, when we see Republicans and Democrats all over the country embracing those principles, we feel like giving them the glad hand."

Provided by: Kansas State Historical Society; Topeka, KS