Tag Archives: Vanderbilts

Musings of a Prairie Populist and Progressive

A photo of the real Ignatius Donnelly – founder of the People’s Party which later became the Populist Party.

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We were signed up to the Douglas and Main blog site today.  Here is the summary of us:

PrairiePopulistsAndProgressives.net — A group blogging about modern politics like its 1896.

This may be a higher compliment than it seems upon first glance.  The 1890’s until the 1920’s was a period of populist and progressive activism.  There was an outcry about the exploitation of workers and the common man that had never been heard before – maybe not even in the history of the world.

In my humble opinion, the reign of capitalism that preceded our current economic troubles has not been seen in this country since the populist era.  Hopefully, it will not take a major depression like that seen in the 1930’s to correct this political course.  I have hopes that the current administration will be part of the answer, rather than part of the problem…  Time will tell on that.

An excellent historical book that I would suggest is:

Risjord, N.K.  (2004).  Representative Americans:  Populists and progressives. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers:  Lanham, Maryland.

http://www.amazon.com/Representative-Americans-Progressives-Norman-Risjord/dp/0742521710

The book is a collection of sketches on Progressives and Populists of the late 19th and early 20th century.  Those covered range from Mother Jones to Margaret Sanger [this latter woman seemed to never have a shortage of boyfriends 🙂 ].

Some dissonance that is troubling to me stems from the fact that while true, the Rockerfellers’ and Vanderbilts’ as philanthropists were responsible for the University of Chicago (a high quality liberal academic institution) and Vanderbilt University, but in their roles as ubber capitalists fostered the work related deaths of many, many common men.  My dilemma: do these capitalists philanthropy excuse their earlier crimes?  I come down on the side of saying definitely not!

Please keep up the blogging that has marked the beginning of this fine site.

Iggy Donnelly…

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Filed under Book Reviews, Media, Populists, Republicans, The Economy