The Wizard of Oz vs the Populist Movement

752 Words4 Pages
Follow the Gold Brick Road! Somewhere over the rainbow, Dorothy and her friends embark on the journey of a lifetime. What seems like a timeless children’s tale is actually an allegory for the populist movement of the late 1800s. The Wizard of Oz has many parallels to people and events from American history. The populist movement was a period in history where America was plagued with a lot of corruption and economic issues. The gold standard was causing deflation, the farmers were trying to gain political power, many businesses were being monopolized, and so much more. The gold standard was one of the biggest debate points of the election of 1896. William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic candidate, was a large supporter of free silver. Free silver, if put into the economy, would most likely cause inflation and help the farmers. More money would be put into circulation for use. Dorothy’s ruby slippers represent free silver in the movie. The Wicked Witch of the West, who represents banks and big businesses, tries to take control of the slippers (silver) and fails. The slippers are far too powerful to be affected by her powers. William McKinley was the republican candidate in the election of 1896. He supported staying with the gold standard, which helped him win the election. The yellow brick road in the movie represented the gold standard. It paved a path that led to the Emerald City, which stood for Washington DC. The gold standard caused deflation in the economy, which hurt farmers. Deflation was good for the banks because the farmers would pay loans back to the banks and they would be worth more money. These symbols were vital to the 1896 election and The Wizard of Oz. The characters in the movie are also based off important people from the 1896 election. The “Courageous” Lion was made to represent William Jennings Bryan. Bryan was a democrat who lost to
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