Also referred to as the people’s party, the Populists believed more power should be given to the government. The Populists were an independent political party of middle class activists that consisted of farmers and laborers.
Populists were the product of a social movement that was created in response to the changes in the American economy and society during the 1890s. The Populist party was the most successful third party since the Civil War, but it eventually failed as a third party. In the 1896 election, Williams Jennings Bryant ran for president under the populist’s party ticket but was defeated by the republican candidate. The party never recovered.