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Wonderful Wizard of Oz: the Historian's View

            The tale The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was written and published more than a century ago by L. Although his children's fable is seen to most as just pleasurable reading material for children, many historians saw it as more of a depiction of the political and monetary situations of that era in American history. People like professor and researcher Hugh Rockoff published articles attempting to gain support or their ideas that the Wizard of Oz was a monetary allegory. Every reader of the classic story and all the historians are entitled to and even have their own opinions of the intent and the true meanings behind the classic tale. The main point to remember is that no matter how much the story parallels the movements and situations of Populism at that time, Baum left behind no concrete evidence that it was supposed to be anything other than a children's fable. In fact, he specifically writes in the beginning of his book that it "was written solely to pleasure children of today". Although many believe this statement is made in anticipation of the Populist and other types of interpretations of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Let us look deeper into some of the claims made by historians who have brought allegations of the allegory and even associated characters from the novel to political and other public figures of the Populist movement of the 1890's and early 1900's. Our main discussion will center on Ranjit S. Dighe's book, The Historian's Wizard of Oz. .
             In the late nineteenth century, a man named William Jennings Bryan and the Populist Party, or the People's Party as it was also known as, were crying for the return of a bimetallic currency. They believed that the government should increase the money supply to end the deflation that had been going on for years. They solution to the deflation was a return to the silver and gold based currency system for the United States. Reinstating silver coinage as part of the governmental currency at the old rate of sixteen to one, or sixteen ounces of silver for every once of gold, was the solution they were looking for.

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