See W. V. Byars, An American Commoner (1900).
This was part of something of the silver, bimetal- groups, and the forces who tried to bet it altogether. Rutherford B. Hayes, who was shown by banking and banking interests, opposed this act because he did not agree with the deflation that it would cause. Congress went against the veto.
However, the Hayes administration blunted the impact of the law. The Treasury Department never actually bought more than the $2 million minimum amount and never circulated the silver dollars. The Bland-Allison Act was replaced in 1890 by the Sherman Silver Purchase Act.
Gold remained the larger feature between both legislations. The term "limping bimetallism" has been used to describe this program.
The five-year depression following the panic of 1873 caused cheap-money advocates (led by Representative R. P. Bland of Missouri) to join with silver-producing interests in urging a return to Bimetallism, the use of both silver and gold as a monetary standard. The controversial mint reform act of 1873 eliminated the coinage of silver at a time when increased supplies from newly discovered Western mines were lowering prices. Silver advocates, decrying the so-called Crime of '73, demanded restoration of free coinage of silver at a ratio to gold of 16 to 1, approximately $1.29 an ounce.
Free coinage, as the symbol of justice for the poor, was seized upon by others determined to prevent resumption of specie payments (the redemption, in metallic coin, of U.S. paper money by banks or the Treasury) and desirous of plentiful inflationary currency. Bland's bill for free coinage, passed by the House on 5 November 1877, jeopardized Secretary of the Treasury John Sherman's plans for resuming specie payments. Sherman, through a Senate amendment sponsored by Senator W. B. Allison of Iowa, was able to substitute less inflationary limited purchases for free coinage. Silver producers accepted the arrangement as likely to restore silver to $1.29.
The law, passed 28 February 1878 over President Rutherford B. Hayes's veto, required government purchases, at market prices, of $2 million to $4 million worth of silver bullion monthly, and coinage into legal tender 16-to-1 dollars, exchangeable for $10 silver certificates. The president was directed to arrange an international bimetallic conference to meet within six months. These provisions signified victory for producers over inflationists.