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Luke Beata: Free Silver
Further, in 1896, free silver was espoused as a major issue of presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan. However, Bryan's defeat was met with an increased supply of gold and a returning prosperity for Americans. The power of free silver advocates was again lessened. Nevertheless, silver interests maintained some political presence in the 1900's. For example, under F.D.R's presidency, the government made massive purchases of silver. But by the 1960s, the U.S. Treasury terminated the use of silver in coins and went on to sell its surplus stock of silver in 1970.
Oddly enough, the silver issue of 1896 has found its way into the ever-popular children's book, The Wizard of Oz. The book was written shortly after the election of 1896 by a journalist from the Midwest. As the story goes, Dorothy is a girl who finds herself far away from Kansas and lost in an unfamiliar place. In relation to the silver issue, Dorothy represents traditional American values. The three friends she meets during her journey: the scarecrow, tin man, and lion represent the farmer, the industrial worker, and William Jennings Bryan, respectively. The lion is representative of Bryan because the lion is said to have a roar that exceeds his might. The four characters journey along the yellow brick road which is representative of the gold standard. The four characters are in a pursuit to find the Wizard who will have the power to send Dorothy back home. At the end of the story they arrive at Oz, which is the equivalent to Washington. Here, everybody sees the world through green glasses or money, in relation to the silver issue. The Wizard of Oz makes an attempt to be all things to all people. But in the end, he is really just a fraud. The Wizard represents William McKinley. The story ends with Dorothy's problem being resolved when she discovers the power of her silver slippers (In the original, her slippers were silver, not red).