When Did the Populist Party End?

The Populist Party of the United States disbanded after the 1900 election. Though its supporters tried to rebuild the party in 1904, the new Populist Party lasted until just after the 1908 election, when it disbanded for a second and final time.

The Populist Party, also called the People's Party, was hostile to corporations, banks, urban life and elites. It first came into existence as a national force in 1892, when James B. Weaver won the nomination for president. Though Weaver didn't win, he did gain more than a million votes, about 8.5 percent of all votes cast.

In the midterm election two years later, many Populists did well at the state level, particularly in North Carolina, where they joined a governing coalition with Republicans. This impressive performance caused the Democratic Party to shift toward many of the Populist Party views. In 1896, Populists worked with the Democratic Party at the national level, with both parties nominating William Jennings Bryan for president.

This cooperation took the wind out of the sails of the Populist Party as a unique political force. It began to lose voters to a Democratic Party that had oriented itself in a more populist direction.

The Populists nominated Wharton Barker for president in 1900, but he secured less than 1 percent of the vote. After disbanding once, Populist leaders reformed the party, nominating Thomas E. Watson for president in 1904 and 1908, but he too garnered less than 1 percent of the vote in both elections, ending the party for good.