The Nebraska independent.
Lincoln, Nebraska (1896-1902)
- The Nebraska independent. : (Lincoln, Nebraska) 1896-1902
- Place of publication:
- Lincoln, Nebraska
- Geographic coverage:
- Dates of publication:
- Began with Volume 7, no. 32, January 16, 1896; ceased with Volume 14, no. 23, October 30, 1902
- Lancaster County (Neb.)--Newspapers.
- Lincoln (Neb.)--Newspapers.
- Nebraska--Lancaster County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01211912
- Continues the numbering of: Wealth makers of the world.
- Merger of: Wealth makers of the world, and: Lincoln independent (Lincoln, Neb.).
The Northern Farmers’ Alliance was founded in 1879 in response to low crop prices and the anti-monopoly or anti-railroad sentiments of farmers fed up with the railroads, Wall Street speculators, elevators, middlemen, and banks—all of which were perceived to be taking most of a farmer’s profits. The Alliance focused on two major themes: economic cooperation to help the farmer and political action.
In the 1870s, Nebraska farmers had suffered from severe droughts, grasshopper infestations, and prairie fires. Many farmers lost their lands when Eastern banks foreclosed. Consequently, the Northern Farmers’ Alliance was seen as a positive force for change. The first local Alliance in Nebraska was formed in Filley, Gage County, Nebraska, in 1880, and the Nebraska State Alliance was formed in Lincoln, Nebraska, the following year. In an effort to turn the economic crisis around, the Nebraska State Alliance aimed to secure cheaper transportation and to cooperate with the national Alliance to secure legislation favorable to the farmer. In 1881, Nebraska and Kansas led in the number of local alliances attending the national convention, and by 1886, there were 200 locals chartered in Nebraska in 37 counties. An insurance program was formed to deal with losses of life and property from hail and fire, while economic cooperatives for creameries and grain elevators were formed to cut out middlemen.
From 1880 through the early 1900s, Nebraska’s Independent Party nominated many Farmers’ Alliance candidates for state and local offices. Perhaps in response to this, the Nebraska State Alliance’s political agendas were gradually incorporated into the party platforms of the Republican and Democratic parties of the state, and a state Railroad Commission was established partly to help standardize shipping fees. Gradually, the Alliance and the Independent Party in Nebraska began to wane.
Several Nebraska publications espoused both Farmers’ Alliance and Independent views. Among these were such weekly papers as the Alliance (1889), later the Farmers’ Alliance (1889-1892) and various succeeding papers, including: Farmers’ Alliance and Nebraska Independent (1892); the Alliance-Independent (1892-1894); Wealth Makers of the World (1894-1896); and the Lincoln Independent (1895-1896) which merged to form the Nebraska Independent (1896-1902). Later, this title was continued by the Independent (1903-1907); at one time there was a short-lived Weekly Independent (1895). The Independent ultimately merged with the Weekly State Journal and the Western Swine Breeder to form the Independent farmer and western swine breeder.
George P. Rowell & Company’s 1897 and 1898 volumes indicate that the Independent was edited by James A. Edgerton, who at one time was the Chief Clerk in the State Labor Bureau. Rowell’s directory notes that the paper had a circulation of 7,270 subscribers. Issues carried both Nebraska and national news, and many issues dealt with the plight of farmers and laboring people. One article of particular interest in Nebraska was titled “Worried Farmers.” It reported on the sale of Omaha Indian lands to settlers and noted with concern that later lands were reverting to the government. During this period, the Omaha tribe was impoverished and starving after years of poor harvests, so selling lands and artifacts was a means of survival. Farmers, who were also suffering from drought and poor crop yields in the late 1800s and early 1900s, saw lands reverting to the government as another example of the injustices they experienced.