Term: Granger Movement
Definition: A 19th-century political movement by farmers. It began on December 4, 1867, in Washington, D.C., with the formation of a secret fraternal society for farmers called the National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry. During the next decade it spread rapidly, fed by agrarian desperation over hard times, high railroad shipping rates, and tight money, and by 1875, the membership had passed 850,000. Its central issue was the exploitation of farmers by railroads, merchants, and banks and its remedies for those ills included farmer-owned cooperatives and banks and statelaws regulating railroads and grain elevators. Opposition from business interests and the Grangers' own political inexperience led few of their initiatives to succeed but they set important precedents with their legislation, particularly those regulating railroads.
[Source: The Houghton ZMifflin Reader's Companion to American History