If the Dollar was a fixed quantity of silver (as it was defined to be by the Coinage Act of 1792), and if Gold was valued at 15 times silver (weight for weight), then there would be no phony (and suspected to be highly manipulated) ups and downs vs. paper FRN Dollars, as there would only be silver Dollars, and gold coins in higher denominations, which is as it was originally intended to be, and as it was until the Civil War, and then again after the Civil War. Simple.
I believe the "silver certificate" Dollar (a paper dollar redeemable in silver on demand) started in 1873. That was perhaps the real beginning of the end for gold and silver.
Notice though that the Dollar was always equated to silver. The very name Dollar itself stems from the Spanish Milled Dollar (piece of eight), which was the de-facto coin of the land until the Coinage Act of 1792, and also well after. The US minted Dollar coins contain the exact same amount of silver as does a piece of eight (a Spanish minted and segementable coin capable of being broken into eight bits for change, and which led to the children's jingle, 2 bits, 4 bits, 6 bits, a Dollar).
The idea of a "gold standard" came along very late, as it began only on March 14, 1900, after the passage of the Gold Standard Act. William Jennings Bryan's famous "Cross of Gold" speech, given in an effort to stop the gold standard and keep silver in that status is to this day still considered the best speech ever given on the floor of Congress. http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/ ... -standard/http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/on-this-day/march-14/