The Populist movement originated after the collapse of agriculture prices following the Panic of 1873. Farmer's alliances formed in the 1880s calling for regulation and reform in national politics. The movement reached its peak in 1892 when both the Democrats and Republicans wouldn't take up a position on the Populists' call for unlimited coinage of silver. A convention was held in Omaha, Nebraska and the Populist Party was formed in 1892.
The party's platform called for the abolition of national banks, a graduated income tax, direct election of Senators, civil service reform, and a working day of eight hours. In the 1892 Presidential election, James B. Weaver received 1,027,329 votes.
By 1896, the Democratic party took up many of the Populist Party's causes and the party faded from the national political scene. The party's desire for direct election of Senators was realized in 1913 with the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment. The party's call for civil service reform became a part of the United States Progressive Party platform.
In 1984, the Populist Party name was revived, by some extreme-right-wing activists with no connection to the earlier Populist Party and sharing none of their ideology. This party became the electoral vehicle for the right-wing Presidential campaigns of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke in 1988, and of former Green Beret officer Bo Gritz in 1992, but was defunct by 1996.