Gold Bugs

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GOLD BUGS. Borrowed from the title of the Edgar Allan Poe story "The Gold Bug" (1843), this label by the 1870s referred to those who favored basing the U.S. monetary system on gold to the exclusion of silver. As the struggle over monetary issues intensified, generating heated rhetoric and wonderful cartoons, the term became more derogatory. After 1893, it was applied especially to gold supporters within the Democratic Party. That shrinking group, predominantly urban businesspeople and professionals, supported President Grover Cleveland's repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, and in 1896 they bolted the party to create and support the National Democratic ticket of John Palmer.


Friedman, Milton, and Anna Jacobson Schwartz. A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1963.

Philip R.VanderMeer

See alsoGold Standard .