Populism and the Wizard of Oz Essay

1366 WordsFeb 4, 20146 Pages
Many say the “The Wizard of Oz” is an allegory for Populism. The book was written in 1900, in the middle of the populist era. Populism was a people’s cause, and was the rise of industrial America. People wanted reform for farmers and workers as well. Some of the major views that populist’s had was that they wanted a personal income tax to replace the multiple tariffs. They also wanted a direct election of senators, an eight our work day, and a one six year term for presidents. A big movement that was part of populism was the Free Silver movement, which supported silver being the backing currency instead of gold because it was common, and easier for the common man to earn. In this allegory, single characters can represent different parts of populism, such as Dorothy, the main character. Dorothy is a young girl who lives with her aunt and uncle on a small, bleak, nearly failing farm. She represents the common man in the United States. She lives in Kansas, which is the central United States, and the center of Populism. But at the beginning of the story, everyone Dorothy tries to get help from tells her to go away. Yet Dorothy’s goal in going to Oz is so the Wizard can help her get back home. Dorothy is also very black-and-white when it comes to opinions. She either believes all witches are bad, or that all witches are good. And yet she is still tricked by Glinda. She never really makes her own decisions. Dorothy symbolizes just a simple person in the heart of populism, and in general, the populist movement. The Scarecrow’s goal is to ask the Wizard for a brain. He represents farmers during this time period, who were seen as dumb and simple-minded. They were also seen as people who worked hard for little pay. The Scarecrow mentions that some people without brains do a lot of talking, possibly meaning the politicians and government in general. There is also a

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