Encyclopedia of Populism in America
A Historical Encyclopedia
by Alexandra Kindell and Elizabeth S. Demers
February 2014, 901pp, 7x10
2 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-59884-567-9
$189, £140, 158€, A270
eBook Available: 978-1-59884-568-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

While Populism has its origins in post-Civil War farmers seeking to fight exploitation by big business, today the movement encompasses both right-wing and left-wing organizations and icons.

This comprehensive two-volume encyclopedia documents how Populism, which grew out of post-Civil War agrarian discontent, was the apex of populist impulses in American culture from colonial times to the present.

The Populist Movement was founded in the late 1800s when farmers and other agrarian workers formed cooperative societies to fight exploitation by big banks and corporations. Today, Populism encompasses both right-wing and left-wing movements, organizations, and icons. This valuable encyclopedia examines how ordinary people have voiced their opposition to the prevailing political, economic, and social constructs of the past as well how the elite or leaders at the time have reacted to that opposition.

The entries spotlight the people, events, organizations, and ideas that created this first major challenge to the two-party system in the United States. Additionally, attention is paid to important historical actors who are not traditionally considered “Populist” but were instrumental in paving the way for the movement—or vigorously resisted Populism’s influence on American culture. This encyclopedia also shows that Populism as a specific movement, and populism as an idea, have served alternately to further equal rights in America—and to limit them.


  • Provides an introductory essay that announces key events, themes, people, and ideas, appropriate for students, researchers, and general readers
  • Includes more than 200 entries and dozens of images and maps, making this two-volume work a comprehensive resource for high school and undergraduate researchers
  • Explains how the 19th-century agrarian movement diverged into different Populist movements in the United States and explores the various meanings, icons, and forms of the Populist undercurrent in modern-day American culture
Alexandra Kindell, PhD, is an instructor at Purdue University North Central and American Military University. She has also written and edited western history projects with Praeger, and is the author of the article, "Washingtonian Agrarianism: Antebellum Reformers and the Agrarian Image of George Washington" in American Nineteenth Century History. Her specialties include western and women's history, including rural and agricultural life.

Elizabeth S. Demers, PhD, is acquisitions editor for military and American history at Zenith Press, part of the Quayside Publishing Group. She received her doctorate from Michigan State University in American history, and is the coeditor of Greenwood's Icons of American Cooking with Victor W. Geraci.


"The well-written accounts always connect a subject to its populist context. . . . This is a very useful introduction to the subject. Recommended."—Choice, September 1, 2014

"The writing is both solid in scholarship and engaging in tone, a perfect combination for accomplishing entry-level reports. . . . [S]ignificant for its streamlined coverage of a topic of such import to American political and social history. Recommended for high school and undergraduate collections."—Booklist, August 1, 2014

"With so many classes in high schools and colleges addressing social movements, this is a work that will be heavily used. The variety of entry points, the clear and succinct prose, and the references to other works make this an excellent place for some students to complete and other students to begin their research."—Reference Reviews, September 3, 2015
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