The Populist Party In L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz

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The idea of populism generally stems from a desire for the underprivileged to become equal to the upper class in a society. The term first appeared in the 1890s to describe the new Populist Party but has also since been used repeatedly throughout history in relation to different political movements in America and other countries. It has also been used as a theme and symbol in many works of literature. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, written by L. Frank Baum, has been analyzed by countless critics who have attempted to prove that the novel follows certain storylines such as myths or fairy tales. Others believe the symbols can be better interpreted to have other meanings, such as being related to the Populist Party in the late 19th century and the issues from that…show more content…
In the land of Oz, silver is the color that represents the witches and their power. Many instances in the novel show their great power by describing how other characters react to them, such as when the Wicked Witch sees Dorothy’s silver shoes she “[begins] to tremble with fear, for she [knows] a powerful charm belonged to them” (Baum 125). This demonstration of their influence symbolizes how much power silver would have had in the economy if it were utilized and the Free Silver Movement. Later, Glinda tells Dorothy that if she clicks her heels together, she can get wherever she needed to. This once again serves to send a pro-silver message because it tells readers that Americans, especially farmers and factory workers, would be able to reach any of their goals and become successful if they utilized a bimetallic currency. Just as the silver shoes had magical powers, populists believed that the inflationary monetization of silver would magically solve all of their economic problems. Similar to the Free Silver Movement, its opponent the Gold Standard was also symbolized, although in a more negative way in the
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