29 November 2012

Wizard of Oz Silver-Gold Metaphors

The History of Money by Jack Weatherford, 1997, Excerpt

The most memorable work of literature to come from the debate over gold and silver in the United States was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900, by journalist L. Frank Baum, who greatly distrusted the power of the city financiers and who supported a bimetallic dollar based on both gold and silver.

After the cyclone violently rips Dorothy and her dog out of Kansas and drops them in the East, Dorothy sets out on the gold road to fairyland, which Baum calls Oz, where the wicked witches and wizards of banking operate. Along the way she meets the Scarecrow, who represents the American farmer; the Tin Woodman, who represents the American factory worker; and the Cowardly Lion, who represents William Jennings Bryan.

Marcus Hanna, the power behind the Republican Party and the McKinley administration, was the wizard controlling the mechanisms of finance in the Emerald City. He was the Wizard of the Gold Ounce - abbreviated, of course to Wizard of Oz - and the Munchkins were the simpleminded people of the East who did not understand how the wizard and his fellow financiers pulled the levers and strings that controlled the money, the economy, and the government.

In the end, all the American citizens had to do was expose the wizard and his witches for the frauds they were, and all would be well in the bimetal monetary world of silver and gold.

In the book, Dorothy’s magic silver slippers got her back to Kansas.


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