Monetary standard under which the basic unit of currency is defined as a stated quantity of silver. It is usually characterized by the coinage and circulation of silver, unrestricted convertibility of other money into silver, and the free import and export of silver for the settlement of international obligations. No country now operates under a silver standard. In the 1870s most European countries adopted the gold standard, and by the early 1900s only China, Mexico, and a few small countries still used the silver standard. In 1873 the U.S. Treasury stopped coining silver, which led to the Free Silver Movement, but the defeat of William Jennings Bryan ended agitation for free silver in the U.S. See also bimetallism.
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