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Populism and the Wizard of Oz. L. Frank Baum’s Novel Used as Political Allegory for the Populist and Silver Movement. Please Note…. Most historians do not subscribe to Baum’s intent of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as a political allegory.

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populism and the wizard of oz

Populism and the Wizard of Oz

L. Frank Baum’s Novel Used as Political Allegory for the Populist and Silver Movement

please note
Please Note…
  • Most historians do not subscribe to Baum’s intent of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as a political allegory.
  • Henry Littlefield, a high school teacher, published the use of the book as a political allegory in 1964.
  • The use of the The Wizard of Oz as a political allegory is solely for the purpose as an educational tool for understanding of Populism and the late Gilded Age politics.
dorothy
Dorothy
  • The embodiment of the American people
  • Naive, needs guidance and direction
slide4
Toto
  • May represent the Teetotalers or Prohibitionists who supported the Populist movement
the scarecrow
The Scarecrow
  • Represents the farmers
  • The absence of a brain symbolizes farmers have run out of ideas regarding the poor agricultural conditions
  • Ironic how the Scarecrow tends to develop clever plans
the tin man
The Tin Man
  • Represents the industrial workers.
  • Dehumanized by labor hence no heart
  • Rusting due to factories shutting down from depressions
the cowardly lion
The Cowardly Lion
  • Represents William Jennings Bryan
  • All roar, but no bite
kansas
Kansas
  • The agricultural West
  • Black & white and desolate landscape show poor conditions and gloom
the twister
The Twister
  • The Populist movement or political upheaval
  • Sweeping people from the B&W Kansas to the colorful Oz and Emerald City
the wicked witch of the east
The Wicked Witch of the East
  • Represents the industrialists and bankers of the East
  • Harasses and enslaves the Munchkins
the munchkins
The Munchkins
  • The common people/laborers of the East harassed by the Wicked Witch of the East and West (corporations)
  • Lullaby League and Lollipop Guild represent reforms and unions
the wicked witch of the west
The Wicked Witch of the West
  • Represents the railroad and oil companies in the West
  • Enslaved the Winged Monkeys and the Winkies
the winged monkeys
The Winged Monkeys
  • Represent Natives in the frontier and West as threats and who have become subjugated by the corporations and government
the winkies
The Winkies
  • Could represent the Pinkertons and federal troops
  • Help enforce the policies and actions of the corporations
the good witch of the north
The Good Witch of the North
  • Represents the Old Northwest/Midwest
  • Populists hoped for their support in their causes
the good witch of the south
The Good Witch of the South
  • Represents the Southeast region and its predominant agricultural sector
  • Populists saw the region as a sympathizer and support bloc
silver ruby slippers
Silver (Ruby) Slippers
  • Represent the silver movement
the yellow brick road
The Yellow Brick Road
  • Represents the gold standard
  • Silver slippers and yellow brick road are the way to new success and prosperity
  • Oz = oz. as in ounce for gold measurement
emerald city
Emerald City
  • Washington, D.C.
  • The place of hope and empty promises
  • Green can also symbolize greenbacks
the wizard
The Wizard
  • Represents the President and/or politicians
  • “The Man Behind the Curtain” symbolizing the changing face of politicians
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