Class Notes

The Populists Party in the South is very interesting for a reason we do not tend to talk about.  As the South began to pass Jim Crow laws, they could only pass ones that did not go against the 14th and 15th Amendments.  In other words, they could not outlaw Blacks from voting because that went against the 15th.  Instead, what Democratic leaders in the South did was pass things like education tests and poll taxes. These laws stopped most Blacks from voting, but in order to make them legal they had to stop uneducated and poor Whites as well. Now clearly some whites were allowed to slip through the cracks, but as the Populists Party grew in strength Democrats now used the Jim Crow laws to stop their growth. It was mostly poor farmers who supported the Populists and now Democrats could use voting laws to stop both Blacks and Populists to retain their power.  Because of this the Populists Party never became that strong in the South.

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