‘The crisis of the nineties, 1889–1901’ covers the politico–economic events of the 1890s. Reforms made during the previous decade had not done enough to curb rampant capitalism. The Knights of Labor, the major labour organization of the time, formed the seeds for the political movement of Populism — an alliance between discontented farmers and factory workers in the South and West. At first Populism gained momentum, helped by the depression of the 1890s. However, William Jennings Bryan's defeat in the 1896 election ended the ‘People's Party’ as a political force. Economic upturn and the distraction of war allowed big businesses to merge and consolidate, helping the economy but damaging families.