People's Party, or Populist Party, in United States history, a political organization that expressed farmers' discontent during the economic hard times of the late 19th century. The Populists drew most of their support from the Greenback party, the farmers' alliances, the Grange, and workers' groups.
The party was organized in 1891 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The first national convention in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1892, nominated James B. Weaver of Iowa for President. The party advocated unlimited coinage of silver, a graduated income tax, direct election of senators, and the initiative and referendum. Weaver received 1,029,846 popular votes and 22 electoral votes.
In 1896 the Populists endorsed William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic nominee for President, but named their own candidate for Vice President. After 1896, with the return of prosperity, most Populist support turned to the Democratic party. In 1900 the People's party again endorsed Bryan, but in 1904 and 1908 it nominated Thomas E. Watson of Georgia. He received about 100,000 votes in 1904 and less than 30,000 in 1908. The party did not begin to nominate Presidential candidates again until the 1984 election.