The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

The Populist Revolt. By John D. Hicks. (Minneapolis: The
University of Minnesota Press, 1931, pp. xiii, 473.)
In these days of "hard times," when unemployment and an
agricultural surplus combine to make the lot of the workingman
seem hard, and when the leaders of bygone days arise once more
to champion the cause of the people, and "General" Coxey, Coin
Harvey, Cyclone Davis, and other old warriors enter the political
ring to seek relief from supposed oppression, the memory of stu-
dents of American history, economics, and politics goes back
forty years to the agrarian uprising of the end of last century.
Nor do such students find themselves alone in their voyage into
the past, for many who participated in that rebellion consider
the situation in which they now find themselves and confess to a
willingness to follow the right leaders into a new and heretical
party of protest.
Particularly timely therefore, in the light of these circum-
stances, is the book which is the subject of this review. Professor
Hicks, long known for his interest in the agrarian crusade, has
here climaxed his investigations of that subject by an effort to
treat comprehensively of the Populist movement as a whole, an
effort in which, be it said, he has met with a large degree of suc-
cess. He has examined literally hundreds of sources of informa-
tion, with the result that his book gives evidence of a broad grasp
and understanding of the agrarian movement as a whole, the ac-
quisition of which was in itself no small task, as anyone ac-
quainted with the diverse origins and characters of the movement
will testify. Further, he has presented a balanced, judicious
treatment of Populism in its various aspects, though the sweep
of the subject lays the study liable to the criticism of inadequacy
as regards any particular phase of the Revolt. To illustrate, the
reviewer had the feeling on finishing the book that the author
had underestimated or at any rate understated the significance of
Populism in Texas, as judged by the time and space given that
aspect of the subject, though some reflection served to convince
him that a dispassionate survey of the People's party would not
only warrant but demand the subordination of various such com-
paratively minor matters in the interest of the unity and balance
of the whole.
In summary it may be said that the book is well written, and

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101092/. Accessed July 28, 2014.