|Iuka, Kansas stores|
In these times which seem so unsettled, with so many traditions and customs abandoned, I thought it might be interesting to see what our ancestors believed to be important. The Farmers' Alliance was an organization formed by farmers who came together in hard times to work toward a better life. They shared ideas about farming methods and crops, and they were troubled by the growing disparity between working people like themselves and the wealthy and powerful few who exerted so much influence in our state and national capitals. Initially, the Farmers' Alliance was not political, and they welcomed members from all political parties. What was especially unusual was their inclusion of women, at a time when women did not have the vote. Yet, women were active in the Farmers' Alliance. Eventually, the Farmers' Alliance joined with other populist organizations to form a political party, in which women continued to play a part, although they still lacked he vote.
|Dugouts and Sod Houses still existed in the late 1800s|
What I thought you might enjoy is the Declaration of Principles those farm women and men of the Farmers' Alliance considered important in the late 1800s.
1. To labor for the education of agricultural classes in the science of economical government, in a strictly nonpartisan spirit.
2. To develop a better state mentally, morally, socially, and financially.
3. To create a better understanding for sustaining civil officers maintaining law and order.
4. Constantly to strive to secure entire harmony and good-will among all mankind and brotherly love among ourselves.
5. To suppress personal, local, sectional, and national prejudices, all unhealthy rivalry, and all selfish ambition.
|Horse Power meant real horses or mules|
Later, they added the following:
To exercise charity toward offenders, to construe words and deeds in their most favorable light, granting honesty of purpose and good intensions to others; and to protect the principles of the Alliance unto death. Its laws are reason and equity, its cardinal doctrines inspire purity of thought and life, and its intensions are "peace on earth and good will toward men."
In 1890, when the Alliance had attained its largest proportions, its voting membership was estimated at 2,500,000.
Although the Farmers' Alliance has disappeared, the wisdom of our ancestors, as expressed in this Declaration of Principles, seems deserving of reflection. Even if, or maybe because, these Principles won't fit in a tweet, they seemed worth sharing.