Today in Legal History: Founding of the Grange

To unite farmers, Oliver Kelly and six others created the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry on December 4, 1867, soon known as the Grange.  This society was unusual in that it allowed women to become full members from the beginning.  The Grange was a political force that lobbied on behalf of farmers at the state and federal level.  Areas influenced by the Grange included the postal service, interstate shipping, women’s suffrage, and direct election of senators.  The Grange also became an economic force, uniting farmers to create cooperatives and cutting out middlemen.

Due to mismanagement, the Grange’s power substantially decreased in the 1880s; however, its political goals continued through the work of the Greenbacks, the Farmer’s Alliance and the Populists.  The Grange survives today, with 300,000 members.

More information is available at:

  • National Grange
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