Populism and the Wizard of Oz

Topics: The Wizard of Oz, Land of Oz, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Pages: 4 (1179 words) Published: September 25, 2012
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its Relations in Populism
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has caused quite a stir of controversy since it was first published in 1900. Written by L. Frank Baum, it was initially thought of to be only a magical story for children; but as it was later examined, there seemed to be more behind the well thought out novel than meets the eye. It appeared that Baum wrote an entire book as a metaphor relating to the populism of the 1890s. From the characters to the settings to the entire plot of this book, you can find almost nothing but symbolism.

To begin to understand what inspired this tale, you need to know that Baum was an avid supporter of William Jennings Bryan, a three time unsuccessful candidate for president from the Democratic Party. Both Baum and Bryan were concerned with the current situation of money supply, specifically in the Mid-West. During the 1890s, America hit a severe depression. This caused many businesses to go bankrupt, farmers to lose their land, and factories to close permanently (Thirdworldtraveler.com).

This had a lot to do with the fact that all money was created by a private banking system, with two main banks located on the East and West coasts. The majority of people believed that the money was based entirely off of gold. This allowed the East and West banks to vary the amount of money going around to put people out of business then acquire the property or area cheaply. As you can see, there is already a huge similarity between the time period and Baum’s book.

Starting with the twister that seized Dorothy’s house, relocating her to the land of Munchkins; this is the hopeful pretense that Bryan won presidency. It shows Dorothy, the average level-headed American, and her dog Toto, the prohibitionists, being sent off to a place of colour and wonder (Answer.com). Once Dorothy lands in this strange land, she finds that her house has killed the Wicked Witch of the East. This releases the Munchkins, or the...
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