What point was Baum trying to make? And these, his conquerors, were marked in their dealings with his people by selfishness, falsehood and treachery. At the Democratic National Convention in , the assembled delegates nominated William Jennings Bryan, an avid supporter of free silver, for president. Yet the Monkeys are not inherently bad; they have become so only through an unnatural and evil force. Littlefield’s article seems not to have been taken to heart and was generally forgotten, until Gore Vidal , writing about Oz in The New York Review of Books in , mentioned the article, and the idea took off. The malign manipulation of gold and silver by the wicked Witch represents the other half of the western menace: Given the mounting evidence against it–given that Littlefield himself has admitted that it has “no basis in fact”–should we forget the whole notion of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as a parable on Populism?

Journal of the Georgia Association of Historians. They hoped this would enable them to sell their crops at higher prices in the winter, spring and summer. For decades, the Chinese had immigrated to the Far West to labor in various capacities. The Witch represents eastern financial-industrial interests and their gold-standard political allies, the main targets of Populist venom. Political interpretations of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz include treatments of the modern fairy tale written by L. As we learn near the end of the story, the Scarecrow-cum-farmer had brains all along-perhaps brains enough to grasp the true causes of his misery and the basics of monetary policy.

His editorials for the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer expressed support for Republican candidates and criticized the nascent Populist movement.

This sophistication explains the disclaimer in the introduction to Oz: He consistently voted as a democrat [sic], however, and his sympathies always seem to have been on the side of the laboring classes. South Dakota History Adaptations and other derivative works. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.


henry littlefield thesis and wizard of oz

Littlefield eventually wrote an article, ” The Wizard of Oz: Not since the s had a southerner served as president, and immigrants and northerners were generally unwelcome in the South.

Views Read Edit View history. The discovery was little less than astonishing: Yet, as everyone knows, The Wizard wlzard Oz is more than just another celluloid classic; it has become a permanent part of American popular culture.

The Baum family and many Oz and Baum scholars have also proclaimed that it was not Baum’s intention to write a deliberate political allegory. When describing characters and settings that readers have never encountered before, writers and especially writers of fantasy might naturally use familiar imagery to help the reader along.

First, Littlefield and his supporters never claimed to have proved that Baum wrote a deliberate, conscious parable.

So Was the Wizard of Oz an Allegory for Populism?

According to this view, for instance, the Yellow Brick Oa represents the gold standardand the Silver Shoes Ruby slippers in the film version represent the Silverite sixteen to one silver ratio dancing down the road. Critics of the allegorical reading of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz have made much of the discovery that L.

henry littlefield thesis and wizard of oz

InHenry Littlefield published a thesis asserting that the story was an allegory for the politics of the s, especially the debate over gold and silver coinage. First, Baum was, if not politically active, then undoubtedly well informed.

The Wizard of Oz: A Parable for Populism?

Incorporating the analogies developed by Littlefield and others, and adding a few of his own, Rockoff provided a detailed and sustained analysis of the political and economic issues symbolically refracted in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Furthermore, Baum’s involvement in the theater, as everything from actor to producer and writer, taught him to appreciate the artistic lifestyle that only the big cities could offer.

Political interpretations of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz include treatments of the modern fairy tale written by L. Near the end of the story, he slays thess spiderlike monster that is terrorizing the animals of the forest. But that appears not to be the case. The Wizard of Oz.


The Wizard of Oz and the allegory of the Populist movement by Cody Moore on Prezi

Some of these interpretations have been embraced by college professors and other academics as the “true” meaning behind The Wizard of Oz.

That would be a big mistake. Adults–especially those of us in history and related fields–like it because we can read between L. Culver, “What Manikins Want: Hearn wrote that he had found “no evidence that Baum’s story is in any way a Populist allegory”; Littlefield’s argument, Hearn concluded, “has no basis in fact.

A Biography of L. Litt,efield contention that Oz is a cleverly crafted political parable reached its apogee in the erudite wizars of the Journal of Political Economy. Though not a smash hit at the time of its release, The Wizard of Oz soon captured the hearts of the movie-going public, and it has retained its grip ever since. During the municipal elections that spring, Baum editorialized in support of the Republican candidates; after they won, he wrote that “Aberdeen has redeemed herself.

Angry victims of the Kansas calamity also took aim at the politicians, who often appeared indifferent to their plight. Durden, The Climax of Populism:

henry littlefield thesis and wizard of oz

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