WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN
The Democratic Candidate for President Is Only 36.
CHICAGO, July 11. — Mr. Bryan was born March 19, 1860, in Salem, Ills. He attended Union College of Law in Chicago and while in attendance there was in the office of Lyman Trumbull. He left the law school June 18, 1883, and went to Jacksonville, Ills., to practice law, remaining at Jacksonville until October, 1887, when he removed to Lincoln, Neb. He took part in the campaign of 1888 in Nebraska and was nominated to represent the First district in congress in 1890. He was elected by the majority of 6,713. He was re-elected in 1892. In 1894 he became a candidate for the United States senate and announced that he would not be a candidate for the lower house of congress. The ensuing state legislature being Republican, John M. Thurston was sent to the senate. In September, 1894, he became the editor-in-chief of the Omaha World-Herald and had control of its editorial policy on state and national questions.
Eau Claire Leader (Eau Claire, Wisconsin) Jul 12, 1896
STATE OF NEBRASKA FURNISHES THE “GOOD WESTERN MAN.”
CHICAGO, July 10 — William Jennings Bryan of Nebraska, the young, classic featured orator from the plains of the Platte, swept the convention off its feet today and was nominated for president on the fifth ballot.
Political history furnishes no precedent to today’s scenes in the Coliseum either as a great spectacular show or as the result of the deliberations of the convention of a great political party.
Bryan is but 36 years old, younger by 10 years than any man ever nominated for the chief magistracy of the American republic. He came like a young Lochinvar out of the West, which has never before nominated a presidential candidate to woo the bride for whose hand the country’s greatest chieftains have been suitors. His name was barely mentioned in the preliminary skirmishing. Four days ago, when the convention met, he was not entered in the lists. But yesterday he made an impassioned speech and stirred the convention to frenzy by his eloquence. That speech overthrew the diligently organized work of weeks and months for other aspirants for the honor.
The cause of silver was uppermost in the minds of the delegates when they assembled here. Yesterday, when Bryan made his speech, the delegates suddenly saw in him the great advocate of their cause, and they turned to him with an impetuosity that nothing could balk. They wanted a tribune of the people. They felt that they had him in the eloquent young Nebraskan. If he had been placed in nomination then, the convention would have been stampeded as it was today. Some of the gray haired leaders saw and feared it.
Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, Illinois) Jul 14, 1896
The “Cross of Gold” speech (text and audio) can be found here.
An Open Letter
An exchange contains the following:
To William Jennings Bryan — I have read thy New York speech carefully. I agree with thee — money should neither increase or decrease in value. Value comes from labor; things like air and water, which cost little or no labor, have little or no value. Christian civilization, with its inventions, machinery and competition, produces most things with less and less labor, consequently prices justly come down when paid for in either labor or “honest money.”
Money, which, as time goes on, will buy less and less labor, is not “honest money.” A pound of silver will buy only about half the labor it would twenty years ago. I cannot see how the free coinage of silver, 16 to 1, can give us “honest money.” An ounce of gold will buy about the same amount of labor it would for the last twenty years. Surely gold is the better standard for “honest money.”
Please consider these facts in thy search for “honest money.”
Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Sep 25, 1896
In William Jennings Bryan’s lexicon no man can be a Democrat who is not for the Chicago platform, and the one candidate who fits it.
New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Apr 19, 1899
Considerable of the space of The News is devoted today to the speech of William Jennings Bryan. As a speciman of flamboyant wind-jamming it has but few equals in politics. That it is a “grand-stand” effort, to use a baseball term, is evident in every line. It is so theatrical from beginning to end that it suggests a great loss to the stage in Mr. Bryan turning to politics. The colonel revels in rhetoric, and relegates sense to the background to force metaphor to the fore. As a specimen of linguistic high and lofty tumbling it discounts the acrobats of the circus ring, but it is as weak and bogus a concoction as the red lemonade which goes with the performance in the saw-dust arena. Contrast it with the real, satisfying meat to be found in McKinley’s speeches, and it is like sponge cake to a starving man.
New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Aug 8, 1900
The Democrats re-elected Cleveland in 1892 who completed the job of ruin he left unfinished in 8? and in 1896 William McKinley was chosen to bring order out of chaos. How well he succeeded is well known to everyone.
The Democrats in the meantime studied up another catchy campaign dodger and girded up their loins for victory with William Jennings Bryan as their Moses. The Democrats trotted Bryan two heats on a free silver plank but the danger flag was thrown into his face at the distance pole both times and the Colonel went to publishing his Commoner, on the plains of Nebraska while the Republicans went on with the god work of repairing the damage done by the Cleveland-Democratic administration and today the United States is the foremost power on earth and enjoying prosperity never before heard of.
Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Feb 3, 1902
Bryan’s “Imperialism” speech (text and audio) can be found here.
William Jennings Bryan is buying a lot of cattle to inhabit that new $10,000 barn which stands in the rear of that new $20,000 house recently erected on his $40,000 farm. In 1896 Mr. Bryan told us that if Mr. McKinley was elected the rich would become richer and the poor would become poorer. Mr. Bryan was poor then and his present prosperity is the best answer to his specious argument.
New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Mar 26, 1902
Tags: 1896, 1900, 1902, Chicago Platform, Free Silver, Gird Your Loins, John M Thurston, Lincoln NE, Lyman Trumbull, Presidential Campaign, Salem IL, William Jennings Bryan, William McKinley, Young Lochinvar