Populists were members of a U.S political party called the Populist Party and they advocated government control on monopolies, interest of farmers and labor, graduated income tax and free silver coinage. The party was formed in the year 1891 by a group of farmers, middle class activists and laborers.
The party was a revolt against the Republican and Democratic parties, which were popular during that time. During the 1890s, senators were chosen by the state legislatures. Populists demanded the senators to be elected by the people. They wanted the citizens to be given the opportunity to introduce a debate on a topic in the legislature. The party won the hearts of many dispossessed and unemployed Americans. It was the most successful third party movement since the Civil War.