Lab exam

1 January 2018

Jennings Bryan argues against the gold standard.

What arguments does he give against the gold standard and why does it oppress the common people? William Jennings Bryan was against the Gold Standard because it artificially lowered inflation. In today’s times the Federal Reserve can print as much money as it wants and also control how the money circulates in the economy by buying and selling bonds. With the gold standard there was an infinite amount of gold that could be mined and minted, which kept inflation artificially low.William Jennings Bryan was a proponent of bimetallism–using silver as well as gold. Using silver meant that more money could be minted and inflation could go up. At the end of the nineteenth century this particularly benefited farmers. Small farmers typically had large outstanding loans to big banks.

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If inflation is allowed to rise it benefits debtors because the money that they owe is less valuable. If the dollar weakens and you’re getting more dollars for selling the same crops, it becomes easier to pay off a fixed amount of money.That is why opposition to the gold standard was so central to Bryan and the Populist movement. William Jennings Bryan, as evidenced by his particularly impassioned “Cross of Gold Speech,” opposed the gold standard on the premise that a bi-metal (meaning gold and silver) money standard would ease the strain on the United States economy. With just the gold standard, the moneys supply was severely restricted. With a booming economy and pressure to increase production, money wasn’t as readily available and Jennings argued that the introduction of silver would ease those harms.

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