The Backside of History

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In the United States, in 1894, the Greenbackers, a party wanting to detach the dollar from gold entirely, to allow the government to spend freely on job creation campaigns, invented the idea of March on Washington. 

L.Frank Baum’s book, The Wizard of Oz , appeared in 1900 and is said to be a parable for the Populist campaign of William Jennings Bryan, whom had run for president twice on the notion of replacing the gold standard with a bimetallic system, adding silver. As with the Greenbackers, one of the main constituencies for the movement was debtors: particularly, Midwestern farm families such as Dorothy’s, who’d been facing a massive wave of foreclosures since the recession of the 1890’s. According to the Populist reading, the Wicked Witches of the East and West represent the East and West coast bankers (benefactors of the tight money supply), The Scarecrow represented the farmers (who didnt have the brains to avoid the debt trap), the Tin Woodsman was the industrial proletariat (who didnt have the heart to act in solidarity with the farmers), the Cowardly Lion represented the political class (who didnt have the courage to intervene). The yellow brick road, silver slippers, emerald city, and hapless Wizard presumably speak for themselves. “Oz” is of course the standard abbreviation for ounce. 

Aside, William Jennings Bryan failed to win the presidency after 3 attempts, the silver standard was never adopted, and few realize the original political propaganda that initiated the making of The Wizard of Oz.

excerpt from the book: Debt, The First 5,000 Years, by David Graeber

The real stories behind history are what make it all the more fascinating. The facts turn into something tangible, retainable, and applicable to current lives/situations.

BrockaThe Backside of History

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