The Gold Standard


Hot Time In The Old Town by Edward P. KochA couple of weeks ago I listened to an interview on Fresh Air with Edward P. Koch, the author of Hot Time In the Old Town: The Great Heat Wave Of 1896 and the Making of Theodore Roosevelt. What with the ongoing heat waves on the East Coast and Europe it was bound to get my attention.

Heated Events

In spite of the title an awful lot of the drama had not to do with the heat wave or Roosevelt, but with the meltdown (almost literal) of the William Jennings Bryan candidacy for president that occured at Madison Square Garden.

The Gold Standard

This in turn got me to thinking about the great controversy of that day--whether the United States should stay strictly on the Gold Standard or allow silver as well as gold to back our currency. In those days the major nations of the world had their currencies backed with gold.

To see what this looked like read Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World. Even today there are those who advocate a return to the Gold Standard. Try "Is the Gold Standard History?"

Blood Boiling?

For another view you could look at "How Would a Return to the Gold Standard Affect the U.S. Economy?"  The things they argued about during the heatwave of 1896 still have the power to raise temperatures today.


Author Bio:

Joe Toschik is a Half Moon Bay librarian who has lived and worked on the Coast for about 17 years. A former Air Force meteorologist, he is still a weather nut. His hobbies include photography and walking the Coastal Trail and his favorite quote right now is as follows: "Fortunately we're not in control.". . .Willie Nelson

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