Mary Elizabeth Lease

Mary Elizabeth Lease (September 11, 1850[lower-alpha 1] – October 29, 1933) was an American lecturer, writer, Georgist,[1] and political activist. She was an advocate of the suffrage movement as well as temperance but she was best known for her work with the People's Party (Populists). She was born to Irish immigrants Joseph P. and Mary Elizabeth Murray Clyens (an anglicization of the Gaelic name Mc Giolla Chaillín), in Ridgway, Pennsylvania. She made her political debut in 1888 with the Union Labor Party or Socialist Labor Party and soon joined the Farmers' Alliance or Populist Party. She was referred to as the "People's Joan of Arc". In that party's 1890 campaign she made more than 160 speeches and claimed credit for the defeat of Kansas senator John Ingalls. She opposed big business and stated flatly that "Wall Street owns the country."[2] She was called "Our Queen Mary" while campaigning with the Populists candidate James B. Weaver during his 1892 run for president,[3] and also "Mother Lease" by her supporters, as well as, "Mary Yellin" by some of her enemies. In 1895, she wrote The Problem of Civilization Solved, and in 1896, she moved to New York City where she edited the democratic newspaper, World. In addition, she worked as an editor for the National Encyclopedia of American Biography. Lease died in Callicoon, New York.

Mary Elizabeth Lease
Lease in the 1890s
Mary Elizabeth Clyens

September 11, 1850
DiedOctober 29, 1933(1933-10-29) (aged 83)
OccupationLecturer, editor, writer
Political partyPeople's Party
Charles L. Lease
(m. 18731902)
  • Joseph P. Clyens (father)
  • Mary Elizabeth (Murray) Clyens (mother)

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