Free Silver Movement.
A movement in the 19th century in the USA for an unlimited silver coinage. Following the gold rushes of the 1850s and 1860s, large deposits of silver were discovered in the West. Silver miners wished to see unlimited production, but in 1873 Congress refused to include the silver dollar in its list of authorized coins. A protest movement resulted, and in 1878 the silver dollar became legal tender, the US Treasury agreeing to purchase silver to turn into coins. In 1890 the Sherman Silver Purchase Act doubled the agreed issue of silver, but following a stockmarket crisis in 1893 the Act was repealed. Eastern bankers were blamed for a depressed silver market, and the Democratic Party adopted the demand for unlimited free silver in the presidential campaign of 1896. Following the 1900 election, a Republican Congress passed the Gold Standard Act, which made gold the sole standard of currency. Franklin Delano Roosevelt passed legislation securing guaranteed US Treasury purchases of silver for use in coins. Supplies of silver decreased during the 1960s and in 1970 the Treasury stopped using silver and sold its surplus stock.