Free Silver: A Divisive Proposition

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



College of Arts and Sciences


English Department

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Tara Penry


I am researching the debate over the unlimited coinage of silver as a national currency-backer opposed to the established gold standard, which was a hot topic in the later half of the 1800’s. Essentially the farmers were in favor of free-silver, as they felt like they were taken advantage of by high tariffs, while urban dwellers with money opposed it for its inflationary nature. Important events in the debacle include ‘The Crime of ‘73’, when silver was initially demonetized, and the election of 1896, where silver-backing Populists almost had their moment of glory. This short film will demonstrate how both sides felt about the issue and why it was such a heated topic.

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