The Wizard of Oz is a beloved children's story that includes both the book, published in 1900, and the movie, which came out in 1939. For years, fans have been drawn to behind-the-scenes gossip about the movie and the strange conspiracies surrounding The Wizard of Oz. But is there a secret political message also hidden in L. Frank Baum's book?
Historians have found a number of symbols in The Wizard of Oz, and they all point to one thing: American politics in the 1890s, when Baum was writing the book. The Wizard of Ozsymbolism goes incredibly deep, from the main characters to the cyclone, those famous slippers, and even Toto. And the central message in the book is all about the rise of Populism and the debate over gold versus silver. Late 19th-century Populists were primarily rural farmers and workers who rallied to demand an increase in releasing an unlimited coinage of silver to circulate more currency as well as income tax reforms, direct election of US senators, and other ways of giving farmers and industrial workers a better playing field in the economy while strengthen political democracy.
It might sound far-fetched, but there is a wealth of evidence to support the theory that Baum was writing a political allegory through the lens of a fanciful children's tale. Baum was a political reporter in the 1890s and he lived in South Dakota for several years, giving him a close-up view of the rise of the Populist movement and the views of American farmers and workers. Is The Wizard of Oz an allegory for politics in the 1890s? Interestingly enough, there are arguably also some parallels to today's political scene, making even the would-be political allegory into a timelessly relevant tale. Read on and decide for yourself.
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