Definitions for "Free silver"
The free coinage of silver; often, specif., the free coinage of silver at a fixed ratio with gold, as at the ratio of 16 to 1, which ratio for some time represented nearly or exactly the ratio of the market values of gold and silver respectively.
The government would purchase all silver offered for sale and coin it into silver dollars. The preferred ratio between silver and gold was sixteen to one. see - gold bugs
(" silver versus gold" controversy): A political movement of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s that pushed for unlimited silver coinage. Some believed that coining silver would result in debt reduction, since more silver meant more money, and more money meant more capital for this purpose.