Which of the following best describes the role played by the People's (Populist) Party during the 1890s?
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An instrument to protect small businesses from governmental regulation
An organization foreshadowing the subsequent socialist movement
A vehicle for agrarian protest against railroad and banking interests
The political arm of the new labor movement
The medium through which urban ethnic groups entered national politics
The Populist movement grew out of the farmers' alliances, and culminated in the rise of the People's (Populist) Party. The Party platform included, among other issues, nationalization of the railroads and reduction of the influence of bankers over the agricultural economy.
The Populists were not looking to protect small business from government regulation. While they did argue that the powers of government should be expanded, not restrained; their pro-government stance was distinct from the complete government takeover of industries advocated by the socialists. The People's Party was a party of farmers and rural interests and was not part of the movement to organize industrial workers in the cities.