The Wizard Of Oz: The Bimetallic Standard & Populism
The argument between Americans was whether or not green dollars were better than the gold standard. It was felt by some that the green dollars that the government claimed had gave more to the political figures than the people who knew very little about the value of the dollars. This was the same time populism began sweeping the nation making some Americans uncomfortable. The Wizard of Oz shows some representation of this history even though Bam claims there was no intentional connection between the story and the historical events.
The Wizard of Oz has representations of the bimetallic standard and populism throughout the storyline, which can be seen in characters and their actions. We are first introduced to Dorothy and what seems to be her only and most important companion, her small dog Toto. Dorothy lives with her Aunt Me and Uncle Henry on a Kansas farm, where everything seems dull and the picture in the movie is gray for the moment. This depiction of Kansas seems to relatively accurate to the setting of Kansas in the sass where most were farmers, and there were no trees, just prairies of grass with small farmer houses scatter throughout.
Dorothy and Toto throughout the story show representation of the average American and their values. She is stated in the past to be representation of the everyman. Dorothy shows traits of determination and loyalty, which can be attributed to most Americans. Dorothy and Toto are suddenly caught up in a large cyclone that seemingly comes out of nowhere. The cyclone itself can be seen to represent something larger than just a random cyclone, which Kansas is very familiar with. In 1890, populist politicians started winning seats in state legislatures and Congress.
A mere two years later populist gained control of the lower house of the state assembly, which eventually led to the election of a populist governor. The cyclone can be seen as a representation of the populist movement that swept over Kansas and took over the state. Toto, Dorothy dog, can also be connected to a teetotal through the play on words. Toto follows Dorothy loyally and honestly as taleteller followed populists. Taleteller, who can be defined as people who kept themselves free of alcohol, were populists’ primary allies.
The cyclone lifts the house where Dorothy and Toto are, and eventually they find homeless in the Land of Oz, which is full of color and life unlike the farm back in Kansas. I nee Lana on ten WICK EAI K Walton AT ten East Ana I K II near, wince gives reason Tort the munchkins to rejoice. The Wicked Witch of the East represents the all of the eastern financial and industrial interests who considered the gold-standard politicians their ally, whom the populists did not side with. Midwestern farmers blamed their financial failures on Wall Street bankers and the heads of the industry, who were basically in it for their own good.
They were there to build up their wealth ND basically enslave the “little people” which is exactly what the Wicked Witch of the East did to the munchkins until she was killed. Dorothy then meets the good Witch of the North, who represents the Midwest where populism was quickly gaining support. The Witch of the North explains that in order to get home, Dorothy must follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City, where Oz may give grant her wish of getting back home to Kansas. The yellow brick road is a long trail, and represents the gold standard.
It is important to remember that Dorothy now has the Wicked Witch of the East’s silver shoes, which represents he silver standard. In contrast, when Dorothy steps on the yellow brick road with her silver shoes, it represents the ratio of gold to silver. The silver shoes seemed puny in comparison to the large yellow brick road, Just as silver was considered puny in the sass because of the ratio of 16 ounces of silver was equivalent to 1 ounce of gold, and even that ratio grew to 20 ounces of silver to 1 ounce of gold.
As Dorothy begins her Journey down the yellow brick road to the Emerald City, she comes across a scarecrow that Just wants a brain because he “knows nothing and cannot think without one”. The scarecrow represents Midwestern farmers who had been worked to the bone throughout the years and ridiculed so often, they began to doubt themselves and were considered to be inferior. As the scarecrow is aided by Dorothy, he gets off his post, but has quote some trouble stepping onto the yellow brick road.
The visual image of him struggling to walk on the yellow brick road represents the struggle that Midwestern farmers had with the gold standard, as most of them disliked it and thought it was crippling for them and the people as a whole. Throughout the Journey, it turns out that the scarecrow is actually cleverer than we loud think him to be without a brain. He is able solve problems and think of solutions along the way, which shows he had a brain after all. This is a message to the Midwestern farmers, stating that they do have a brain, and they are able to think for themselves so there is no need for them to believe they are inferior.
In the end, the Wizard of Oz himself confirms the assumption that the scarecrow does have a brain. The second character they meet is Tin Woodman. The Tin Woodman has had his whole body replaced with tin after his work for the Wicked Witch of the East has caused him to lost his limbs. Now that he is made completely of metal, he believes he has no heart, and hopes the Wizard of Oz can give him one. The Tin Woodman is representation of the industrial workers, who were often euthanized by the industry owners and seen as only machines that do the work.
When Dorothy, Toto, and the scarecrow first come across the Tin Woodman, he is so rusted he cannot move without oil. This shows how the industrial workers felt when businesses began shutting down the country faced a depression. They could not provide for themselves and their families, which made it hard to survive and eventually felt helpless, hence en contracted twinkling en NAS no near As the four characters continue their Journey, each with hopes the Wizard of Oz can help them in one way or another, they travel through a forest.
In the forest they come across a lion, who attempts to scare them, but turns out to be a lion without courage. The lion represents William James Bryan who started as the Nebraska representative in Congress, and eventually became the Democratic presidential candidate of 1896 and 1900. The lions roar can be attributed to the countrywide speeches he gave with his “roaring” rhetoric. Bryan himself as well as the Populist Party as a whole were often pictured in the press at that time as a lion. Bryan supported the free silver movement, which eventually gave him support of the Populist Party.
The lion in the story and Bryan himself were both the last to Join the party, which can be seen as a close connection. The lion has hopes of gaining courage through the Wizard of Zoo’s powers. Bryan was considered to be a coward by many of his critics for opposing the war with Spain in 1898. He also ended up disappointing many populists when he failed to provide a valiant effort to fight for free silver in his 1900 election. Just as the Tin Woodman and scarecrow, the lion thought he didn’t have courage even though in the end, it turns out he does and the Wizard of Oz also ensures him of that.
After a long Journey and meeting a few new friends, Dorothy and Toto finally arrive at the Emerald City. The Land of Oz has many variations and different types of life, as we see with the scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and lion that Dorothy meets. The Land of Oz is representation of America as a whole with its diverse types of people who are all affected by this political movement in one way or another. The Emerald City is here the Great Wizard is who holds the power to grant each of them their wishes. The Emerald City is representation of Washington D. C. Still today the power is centralized.
The Journey itself is similar to the Populist Party’s push to gain power in Washington D. C. And the white house. The Wizard of Oz himself can be connected to the politicians that worked in the capital. They held all the power, Just as the Oz did, and it was thought both had a way to solve the issues at hand. Upon meeting with the Wizard of Oz, they declare what it is they want, and Oz is willing to grant them their wishes, but not without them giving him something. In order to get what they want, they must kill the Wicked Witch of the West, who is the sister of the Wicked Witch of the East.
Unlike the Witch of the East, the Witch of the West represents William McKinley who went head to head with William James Bryan in the 1900 presidential election and the free silver movement. After the task they are given is done, Dorothy and her friends return to the Oz to receive what each individual wants. The Wizard of Oz does not grant them their wishes right away and puts them on hold, and by accident Toto exposes him for what he really is. The great Wizard of Oz turns out to simply be an old man who gains his power from deception, just as politicians did and still do today.
After the Oz is exposed, he explains his story to the group. It turns out he comes from Omaha, Nebraska, and worked as a ventriloquist and circus balloonist. This identifies with William James Bryan who was also from Nebraska, and who was known in the press for his “hot air” speeches. Finally, when it comes down to it, the Wizard cannot actually grant each character’s wishes. What he does do is reassure them that teen are not mammals whenever It Is Tanat teen Delve teen are mammals. I en scarecrow who thinks he is missing a brain which in turns out to be false because he was actually the voice of sound during the Journey.
The Tin Woodman who believed he was missing heart, was not, he Just felt that way because of the oppression he had faced. The lion who felt he had no courage did indeed have it, he Just had no way of showing it until the Oz reassured him it was there. The last big representation of the story is the colors of the Land of Oz. The most reoccurring colors happen to gold and green, with the little shoes of Dorothy being silver. This has everything to do with the monetary policies of the late sass and early sass.
It is often in the story that the green and gold are put directly in contrast with each other, as the yellow brick road is surrounded by green grass. This represents the gold standard versus the paper greenback dollars. In conclusion, we can see many connections between the historical background of the sass and the story of The Wizard Of Oz. Though Bam stated he had no intention of the representation, it is almost impossible to deny the connection. Each character represents one group or another, and it goes even further with the imagery f the movie and the actions of the characters.
There is some type of connection, and with knowledge of the Populist Party’s rise and push to gain power in the White House, we see a similarity in the story, whether it was intentional or unintentional, the representations are undeniable. Bibliography 1 . Taylor, Question . “Money and Politics in the Land of Oz. ” The Independent Review 9. 3 (2005): n. Page. The Independent Institute . Web. 28 Par. 2013. 2. Gordon, John Steele. “A Cross of Gold. ” An empire of wealth: the epic history of American economic power. New York: Hairlessness, 2004. 264-282. Print