In 1896 free silver became the major issue of a presidential campaign when William Jennings Bryan made it the chief plank of his platform. McKinley's victory over Bryan then and again in 1900, coupled with increased gold supplies and returning prosperity, minimized free silver as a political issue. Yet the silver bloc, partly inspired by Nevada silver interests, continued to be active and secured legislation mandating heavy U.S. Treasury purchases of silver under Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The decreasing supply of silver in the 1960s led the U.S. Treasury to end its use in coins and to sell its surplus stock of silver in 1970.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.