This project examines the connections and distinctions between the ideologies and strategies of Midwestern Populism and social Christianity in late nineteenth-century America via the person of George H. Gibson, editor of Nebraska's official Populist newspaper from October of 1893 to January of 1896. Gibson’s rhetoric is analyzed for evidence of the nature of his political and social ideology. Each section of the analysis provides readers with direct access to both primary and secondary source evidence used in the construction of argument. The analysis overview offers an introduction to Gibson and explains his attraction to Populism. Analysis of Gibson’s time as editor is explored via three main topics: social reform and applied Christianity, the Omaha Platform of 1892, and George Herron’s 1894 commencement address at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Digital textual analysis tools have been used to compare the rhetoric of Gibson during his time as editor of the Wealth Makers with that of self-declared Christian Socialist George Davis Herron in his 1894 commencement address at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and with mainstream Populism as defined by the Omaha Platform of 1892. Digital textual analysis tools have also been used to create visualizations of this analysis as a means of providing readers with further insight into the construction of argument. Wordle-generated word clouds allow readers to recognize patterns in the frequency of word usage, while TokenX keywords in context better enables readers to understand the significance of the use of critical words and phrases. The visualizations will be expanded upon as this project develops.
Newspaper articles and editorials are central to Editing Populism’s analysis of Gibson’s rhetoric and ideology. The digital archive provides readers with direct access to the primary sources used in this project. Summaries are given for each article and editorial, and hyperlinks are used to ensure greater accessibility to both evidence and argument. All items in the archive have been transcribed and rendered into digital format by the author. The archive will continue to be expanded as Editing Populism develops.
Secondary sources have been utilized to construct the arguments made in Editing Populism, and to provide historical context for the evolution of Gibson’s ideology. Access to these sources not only allows readers to investigate evidence cited, but also gives readers a list of resources for further exploration of the themes discussed. Summaries of each secondary source will eventually be added to the historiography section.