The Silverites were members of a political movement in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in the late-19th century
History of the United States (1865–1918)
The History of the United States covers Reconstruction, the Gilded Age, and the Progressive Era, and includes the rise of industrialization and the resulting surge of immigration in the United States. This period of rapid economic growth and soaring prosperity in North and West saw the U.S...

 that advocated that silver
Silver standard
The silver standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is a fixed weight of silver. The silver specie standard was widespread from the fall of the Byzantine Empire until the 19th century...

 should continue to be a monetary standard
Monetary system
A monetary system is anything that is accepted as a standard of value and measure of wealth in a particular region.However, the current trend is to use international trade and investment to alter the policy and legislation of individual governments. The best recent example of this policy is the...

 along with gold
Gold standard
The gold standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is a fixed mass of gold. There are distinct kinds of gold standard...

, as authorized under the Coinage Act of 1792. The Silverite coalition's famous slogan was "16 to 1" – that is, the ratio of sixteen ounces of silver equal in value to one ounce of gold, a ratio similar to that established in the Coinage Act of 1834
Coinage Act of 1834
The Coinage Act of 1834 was passed by the United States Congress on June 27, 1834. It raised the silver-to-gold weight ratio from its 1792 level of 15:1 to 16:1 thus setting the mint price for silver at a level below its international market price...

. Silverites belonged to a number of political parties, including the Silver Party
Silver Party
The Silver Party was a political party in the United States, most successful in Nevada, active from 1892-1911. The party supported a platform of bimetallism and "Free Silver."...

, Populist Party, Democratic Party
Democratic Party
The following is a list of political parties whose names could be translated to Democratic Party or the Democrat.-Active parties:-Former parties:...

, and the Silver Republican Party
Silver Republican Party
The Silver Republican Party was a United States political faction active in the 1890s. It was so named because it split from the Republican Party over the issues of "Free Silver" and bimetallism. The main Republican Party supported the gold standard....


The Silverites advocated free coinage of silver. They wanted to lower the gold standard of the United States to silver, which would have simultaneously allowed more money to be printed and made available to the public and cause inflation
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a...

. Many Silverites were in the West
Western United States
.The Western United States, commonly referred to as the American West or simply "the West," traditionally refers to the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States. Because the U.S. expanded westward after its founding, the meaning of the West has evolved over time...

, where silver was mined. Advocates predicted that if silver were used as the standard of money, they would be able to pay off all of their debt. The debt amount would stay the same but they would have more silver money with which to pay it.

The Silverites' main presidential candidate was William Jennings Bryan
William Jennings Bryan
William Jennings Bryan was an American politician in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. He was a dominant force in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, standing three times as its candidate for President of the United States...

, who famously argued in favor of their position in his Cross of Gold speech
Cross of Gold speech
The Cross of Gold speech was delivered by William Jennings Bryan at the 1896 Democratic National Convention in Chicago on July 8, 1896. The speech advocated bimetallism. Following the Coinage Act , the United States abandoned its policy of bimetallism and began to operate a de facto gold...

. Though he ran several times for president, he was never elected.
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