EARLY REFORMERS 1891-99
Pressures for reform began producing results by 1890, and for the next two decades numerous changes were effected as Texas' economic and political systems strove to meet the emerging needs of a modern society. Farmers' demands for recognition of their problems had first been championed by the Farmers' Alliance, and now their cries for reform found political expression in the People's (Populist) Party, which for a time seemed destined to become a permanent feature of the political scene. The party collapsed after the mid-1890s, however, when economic and agricultural conditions improved; many of its demands -- especially those relating to the regulation of big business and the railroads -- were endorsed by the Democrats. These efforts were the foundation for the development in the early twentieth century of a broad-based program of reform that tried to forge a more democratic and competitive system through the political process.