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What does Populism have to do with. ?. The Land of Oz. The Gold Standard. The value of money is linked to the money supply . Up until and after the Civil War, all dollars issued in the U.S. could only be backed by, and could only be redeemed for, gold. What might represent gold?.

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the gold standard
The Gold Standard
  • The value of money is linked to the money supply. Up until and after the Civil War, all dollars issued in the U.S. could only be backed by, and could only be redeemed for, gold.

What might represent gold?


Yellow Brick Road and Oz

  • Yellow Brick Road represents the gold standard, a road that looks hopeful, but leads nowhere.
  • “Oz” represents “oz.” or the abbreviation for ounce, the standard measure for gold.
  • Faced low crop prices, high machinery prices, and high tariffs.
  • Midwestern farmers were very pro-Populist. They wanted to increase money supply by backing dollars with silver.
  • A silver standard would increase inflation and raise crop prices.


  • Represented the struggling Midwestern farmer at the turn of the century
  • In Baum’s version, Scarecrow rules Emerald City after Oz is dethroned.
  • Baum predicted that farmers would gain political power.


  • Eastern industrial workers were anti-Populist because they didn’t want their wages cut due to inflation.
  • Baum viewed these workers as victims who had become mechanized and dehumanized.

Who represents the

industrial workers?


Tin Man

  • Represented the urban industrial worker who was enslaved to heartless industries
  • In making the Tin Man rule the West, Baum predicted that industry would move west.

William Jennings Bryan

  • Congressman from Nebraska who ran for President from the Populist party in 1896.
  • A skilled orator--gave the Cross of Gold speech
  • Advocated heavily for a bi-metalic standard.

Who represents



Cowardly Lion

  • Represented William Jennings Bryan
  • Described as having a loud roar, but little else--Bryan lost to McKinley by 95 electoral votes
  • In having the Lion protect smaller beasts in a “small old forest,” Baum predicted that Bryan would return to Congress.

President William McKinley

  • The Republican candidate in the 1896 race for Presidency—
  • anti-Populist.
  • Baum viewed McKinley as not being as powerful or wise as the façade that he put forth.

Who represents



The Wizard

  • The Wizard promises Dorothy that he will be able to bring her back to Kansas with a balloon filled with a lot of "hot air." Instead, it is the silver slippers, which Dorothy had all the time, that took her home. The Wizard's gifts of courage, brains and a heart are deceptions.

The Silver Slippers

  • When Dorothy walked on the Yellow Brick Road, it represented gold and silver coming together to increase America’s money supply.
  • In the book, her silver slippers are lost, representing the silver issue being lost.

The Oppressed

  • Baum saw these people as ‘slaves’ of the eastern banking and industrial interests.
  • They were anti-Populist because they didn’t want their wages to decline in value due to inflation.

Who represented these

oppressed people?


The Munchkins

  • Represent the common people, controlled by the Wicked Witch of the East (who represented the Eastern Industrialists and Bankers).

Wicked Witch of the West

  • Symbolizes large industrial corporations that Baum thought oppressed “the little guy”
  • is ultimately destroyed by water (representing pure nature, a removal of machines).


Represents everyman. She is an innocent Midwest girl who is able to see what is really going on in Oz.



  • Represented the Prohibitionist Party.
  • They were pro-Populist.
  • “Toto” is a play on the term “T-Totalers,” or people who drank no alcohol.

Emerald City

Thought to represent Washington, D.C. and the color of green American dollars.


Glenda the Good Witch

Was the Good Witch of the North, a pro-Populist region.


Winged Monkeys

  • Showed Baum’s sympathy for the plight of Native Americans
  • “Once . . . We were a free people living happily in the great forest . . . This was many years ago before Oz came out of the clouds to rule over this land.”