The Populist Movement In L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz

Good Essays
The Populist Movement was the historical event that became the subject of L. Frank Baum 's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Several characters and objects in the story represent different people or elements that played a critical role in the Populist Movement.
The Cowardly Lion specifically represented William Jennings Bryan. Bryan was the United States Secretary of State, member of the House of Representatives, and three-time Democratic candidate for President of the United States. He earned the nickname of "The Lion" due to his passionate speeches, but was deemed a coward for reasons such as his his refusal to support a war with Spain in 1898 and his run for the presidency as an anti-imperialist in 1900. Thus, the entire character of the Cowardly
…show more content…
In turn, the Wicked Witch of the East represented the aforementioned powerful elite of the United States, who consisted largely of powerful financiers, elite businessmen (eastern businessmen, no less), and politicians. These influencing forces practically controlled the poor of the country, much like the Wicked Witch of the East controlled the munchkins before her untimely demise at the "hands" of Dorothy 's house. The Wicked Witch of the West held similarity to the Wicked Witch of the East in that she represented powerful aristocrats. The Wicked Witch of the West represented those who held overt influence in the western United States, such as western bankers, industrialists, and heads of the railroad.The Good Witches opposed the Wicked Witches in the story, just as certain people opposed the powerful elite in reality. The Good Witch of the North represents the farmers of the American midwest who strongly opposed those who ran the economy and political system. In the story, the Good Witch of the North helps Dorothy with a gift and instructions after the latter inadvertently killed the Wicked Witch of the East. Just like the Good Witch of the North opposed the Wicked Witch of the East, the farmers and others of America 's heartland opposed the powerful elite that practically ruled the nation. Similarly, the Good Witch of the South (also known as Glinda) represents the southerners who …show more content…
In addition to those aforementioned, a connection can be made between virtually anything from the story and something in nineteenth century America. Thus, the true subject of Baum’s piece was the Populist Movement, despite having been regarded as simple fiction for many years after its

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    James Buchanan Failure

    • 543 Words
    • 3 Pages

    All of his activates and attempts increased international enmity towards the United States. His Domestic views were very controversial Buchanan thought that states should decide the legality of slavery within their border. Many people disagreed with this and fought it during his entire campaign. Unfortunately in the end he still lost out to James K. Polk, but was then selected as his secretary of state. While filling his position he successfully negotiated a treaty with England over Oregon Territory, thus avoiding war.…

    • 543 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Despite President Buchanan’s support for the Lecompton Constitution with slavery, Douglas strongly disagreed with him. Instead, he proposed that the Lecompton Constitution be based on popular sovereignty. In doing so, he deliberately tossed away his strong support in the South for the presidency. Moreover as a result of his antagonization of Douglas’s supporters, President Buchanan caused the splitting of the last political party left: The Democratic…

    • 955 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Moral Relativism is an urban idea of intellectualism that discarded God. Christian fundamentalist became outraged with this concept and began a national crusade, the leader of this was William Jennings Bryan; he was still a popular political person in the rural politics of this time. Bryan used his political power in the south to create anti evolution bills. In 1925 the Tennessee legislature passed a bill outlawing the teaching of evolution in public schools and colleges. This bill created even more tension between liberal-minded urbanites and the traditional fundamentalists.…

    • 1604 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    He describes his undesired emotions by saying that it would make him cowardly to have “two thousand people marching at my heels, and them to trail feebly away, having done nothing” (288). He uses “feebly” to stress how the natives make him feel a sense of humiliation, which weakens his ego and thus further pressures him to shoot the elephant and prove his dominance as a British officer while being confined within his own morals. He finally gives in to the natives’ pressure and depicts the experience by saying that he heard nothing but the “devilish roar of glee” (290) when he pulled the trigger. His use of “devilish” conveys a tone of bitterness and resentment because he did everything that they wanted him to do. His outer ego-the one that represents the British Raj-is satisfied because he succeeded in proving his superiority;however, his inner ego is crushed since he went against his ideology.…

    • 567 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The 1992 Presidential election pitted incumbent President George Bush against the Democratic party’s candidate Bill Clinton and Independent Ross Perot in a contentious campaign. Bush had garnered the votes of the American people in the 1988 election under the pretense that taxes during his presidency under no uncertain terms, or as he famously stated “Read my lips. No new taxes”, would rise. Bush soon breaks this oath to deal with the rising deficit, this action resulting in a lasting effect on his popularity and perceived trustworthiness. Clinton ran his campaign almost primarily focusing on this pitfall of the president, using his abundant airtime to discuss the state of the economy.…

    • 1237 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    In 1972, Nixon’s Watergate Scandal caused an intense uproar because the betrayal came directly from the top of the political system: the President. At the same time while Americans were initially gung ho about the Vietnam War and expected an easy victory against the ostensibly weaker opponent, the brutality employed by the American soldier’s eventually turned the people against this war. As a direct result of these events, the nations faith in its government was wavering. The American idealism had been debased and there was a realization that the society was in a precarious position. This led to the disenchantment with the optimism that had defined the American ideal for generations.…

    • 1931 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Offices are created for the benefit of people. He was forced to make partisan appointments regarding of his opposing to it. This marked an era of the end in public ethics. His enemies formed a group of what is known as the Whigs and portrayed Andrew Jackson as a king not a president because of how used all the vetoes. As shown in document three, Jackson is shown as a king stepping on the constitution of the United States of America and the country.…

    • 1093 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    “Corruption dominates the ballot box, the legislatures, the Congress and touches even the ermine of the bench... from the same prolific womb of governmental injustice we breed the two great classes - tramps and millionaires.” ~The Populist Party. The Gilded Age was an era of political corruption, spanning from 1865-1896. Its main focus was improving America’s business and industrial power. Big business leaders such as Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and J.P. Morgan gained extreme wealth during the Gilded Age. They profited off steel, oil, and banking.…

    • 884 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    One of the main characters in the film named ‘Miss Hilly’ is a standard wealthy woman in Jackson, Missouri, meaning she is very ignorant and racist towards coloured people. Hilly cares about the judgment of others and how she looks within society, she has to look professional and hating blacks are one of the standards in society. Miss Hilly lets out all her rage and judgment on the blacks and fired Minny for using her guest washroom, she makes rumors saying that Minny stole from her to ensure she does not get another job. Her cruel attitude towards blacks completely contradicts in society because she is the + president of a charitable cause going towards giving to the poverty stricken black children in third world countries. This validates the theme of racism because in Hilly 's community they all talk and treat the coloured people poorly like they have some contagious disease, while she is trying to help the black children in poor countries through charity.…

    • 1680 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Dred Scott Case Analysis

    • 727 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Several groups arose following the case. One Antislavery group feared that slavery would spread unchecked which caused chaos .Also a Republican party was founded 1854 to prohibit the spread of slavery. There political compain led to the division of the democratic party. This led to a huge stepping stone which led to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States and South Carolina's secession from the Union. The Dred Scott case not only influenced political party’s actions but the election of the president.…

    • 727 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays