Digital History

The Political Crisis of the 1890s

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Previous Next
Digital History ID 3129



Is the Wizard of Oz just a fairy tale about a girl from Kansas transported to a colorful land of witches and munchkins? Or does the story have a political dimension? Scholars still disagree about whether L. Frank Baum's great children's story was about the collapse of the Populist movement.

Henry Littlefield, a teacher in Pebble Beach, California, was the first person to suggest that the story was about Populism. He argued that:

Littlefield interpreted the yellow brick road as representing gold and Dorothy's silver slippers (which were changed in the movie to ruby slippers) as representing the Populist call for backing the dollar with silver. Oz was the abbreviation for ounces, a reference to the Populist call for the government to coin.

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