Why the Gold Road and Silver Slippers?

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When reading the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, many readers probably only thought about the silver slippers and how they were supposed to be ruby if they had seen the movie. With my background in business and economics I saw it a little differently. At the time of the story the U.S. was making important decision in accepting the gold standard to place a value on the U.S. currency. Prior to the U.S. involvement many other countries had already decided on gold rather than silver. This decision, like many others, came with political disagreement. The Republican party supporting the adoption of the gold standard and the Democratic Party supporting silver. As silver coinage kept circulating the term "Free Silver" came into play. At the time silver was facing a shortage in other areas in the world and losing it's value, where as gold was still being mined and increasing in value. The ratio was recorded to be 16:1, initially 15:1 but increased after gold was increased, the ratio was passed by Congress at the suggestion of Alexander Hamilton. This ratio was thought to be represented in the "Yellow Brick Road" the strength and larger value of the Gold Standard, the silver shoes represented the weaker, smaller value of Silver. The silver being used to make coins to aide us in comfortable travel if you will, and the gold to provide backing and support.

I hope this opens your eyes to another look on why Baum could have made the brick road yellow and the slippers silver. There are many different resources that can be used to get more information on the theory, the best of which is an article in "The Economist," however it can only be accessed in print. If you have some time and it interests you head to the library and check out the 1968 fall edition.

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