|Political mobilization of the peasantry in the Dutch provinces of Gelderland and Zeeland, ca. 1880-1920|
|Since the work of Barrington Moore the role of the peasantry in the political development of nations has received a lot of attention, but not in the Netherlands. There, political history is perceived as urban history. Recently, however, rural historians in the Netherlands have begun to analyze the part farmers played in politics, following older research traditions in countries like Germany and Spain.
In the Netherlands the franchise was expanded gradually from 1887. This meant that by 1900 most of the male farming population had the right to vote. In order to maintain or to expand their power in rural districts, political parties had to mobilize the farmers. In my paper I will analyze the strategies of the main political parties (liberals, Catholics and orthodox protestants) to achieve this in the predominantly rural provinces of Zeeland and Gelderland. Special attention will be paid to propaganda for tariffs on grain imports to gain the peasant vote, the relationship between farmerís associations and political parties and changes in the participation of farmers in local and provincial government. The development in these two provinces can be compared with the provinces treated in the paper of Duijvendak and with the rise of the cooperative movement in the Netherlands in the paper by Rommes.