"We meet in the midst of a nation brought to the verge of moral, political and material ruin. Corruption dominates the ballot box, the legislatures, the Congress, and touches even the ermine of the bench. These people are demoralized.... The newspapers are subsidized or muzzled; public opinion silenced; business prostrate, our homes covered with mortgages, labor impoverished, and the land concentrating in the hands of capitalists.
"The urban workmen are denied the right of organization for self-protection; imported pauperized labor beats down their wages; a hireling standing army . .. established to shoot them down... . The fruits of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes. . .. From the same prolific womb of governmental injustice we breed two classes-paupers and millionaires...." -- Ignatius Donnelly, The People's party national convention in 1892 in St. Louis
"Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street and for Wall Street.... Our laws are the output of a system which clothes rascals in robes and honesty in rags. . .. the politicians said we suffered from overproduction. Overproduction, when 10,000 little children . .. starve to death every year in the U.S. and over 100,000 shop girls in New York are forced to sell their virtue for bread." -- Mary Ellen Lease, Populist party convention in 1890 in Topeka, Kansas
as quoted by Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States, Chapter 11 "Robber Barons and Rebels"