Populism, Paranoia, and the Politics of Free Silver

  title={Populism, Paranoia, and the Politics of Free Silver},
  author={Samuel Decanio},
  journal={Studies in American Political Development},
  pages={1 - 26}
  • S. Decanio
  • Published 1 April 2011
  • Political Science
  • Studies in American Political Development
This essay defends the Populists against charges that they espoused an irrationally conspiratorial view of American history. Focusing on monetary policy, and the free silver issue in particular, I argue that the Populists correctly suspected that bankers conspired to demonetize silver and demonstrate that William Ralston, president of The Bank of California, secretly bribed Treasury Department bureaucrats and used Western congressmen to pass the Coinage Act of 1873. Ralston's involvement in… 
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Comment on “Populism, Paranoia, and the Politics of Free Silver”
  • R. Bensel
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  • 2011
Let me begin with the bottom line: Samuel DeCanio has addressed a very important topic, skillfully crafted an argument, and marshaled an impressive body of evidence behind his thesis. The result is a
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Richard Bensel's comment on my article “Populism, Paranoia, and the Politics of Free Silver” is, like all of his writing, thoughtful, careful, detailed, and well written. However, I find that I
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