After the civil war the American economy experienced boom conditions, but during the late nineteenth century over speculation of crops and economic depression caused American farmers to suffer in society, which led to the emergence of the populist movement. Farmers were angered by the high cost of transportation and low prices of crops. Clubs or alliances between farmers began to develop. These unions eventually became the Populist Party.
Throughout the mid 1880's farmers on the plains experienced boom conditions such as adequate rainfall, and bountiful harvests. Populations increased, credit was available and property values rose rapidly. The country was prospering due to the precious metal from the west, and the creation of the transcontinental railroads. The average cost of wheat was one dollar and fifty cents a bushel and cotton was thirty cents a pound. Unfortunately after every boom comes a succession. .
Bad weather and economic depression hit the farmers hard. By the mid 1890's the price of wheat dropped to sixty cents a bushel and cotton dropped to only six cents a pound. Thousands of farmers lost their farms, which were bought up by big businesses and deprived farmers individual land ownership. Farmers were also hurt by tariffs on manufactured goods and the domestic marketing system in which farmers lost money to middlemen. The Crop-lien system, which made landowners and sharecroppers dependent on the merchants, and prevented the development of diversified farming in the South, put farmers in debt therefore encouraging the emergence of the populist movement. Since the farmers did not have the money to pay back their loan because the harvest wasn't doing well and prices decreased farmers were forced into perpetual debt by this system. Also improvements in transportation allowed countries such as Australia, Canada, Russia, and Argentina to compete for European markets. This made it harder for American farmers to sell crops in Europe.