William Jennings Bryan
Overview
 
William Jennings Bryan (March 19, 1860 – July 26, 1925) was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. He was a dominant force in the liberal
Liberalism in the United States
Liberalism in the United States is a broad political philosophy centered on the unalienable rights of the individual. The fundamental liberal ideals of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion for all belief systems, and the separation of church and state, right to due process...

 wing of the Democratic Party, standing three times as its candidate for President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 (1896, 1900 and 1908). He served in the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 briefly as a Representative
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 from Nebraska
Nebraska
Nebraska is a state on the Great Plains of the Midwestern United States. The state's capital is Lincoln and its largest city is Omaha, on the Missouri River....

 and was the 41st United States Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 under President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

, 1913–1916. Bryan was a devout Presbyterian
Presbyterianism
Presbyterianism refers to a number of Christian churches adhering to the Calvinist theological tradition within Protestantism, which are organized according to a characteristic Presbyterian polity. Presbyterian theology typically emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures,...

, a supporter of popular democracy
Popular democracy
Popular democracy is a notion of direct democracy based on referendums and other devices of empowerment and concretization of popular will. The concept evolved out of the political philosophy of Populism, as a fully democratic version of this popular empowerment ideology, but since it has become...

, an enemy of gold
Gold standard
The gold standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is a fixed mass of gold. There are distinct kinds of gold standard...

, banks and railroads, a leader of the silverite
Free Silver
Free Silver was an important United States political policy issue in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Its advocates were in favor of an inflationary monetary policy using the "free coinage of silver" as opposed to the less inflationary Gold Standard; its supporters were called...

 movement in the 1890s, a peace advocate, a prohibition
Prohibition
Prohibition of alcohol, often referred to simply as prohibition, is the practice of prohibiting the manufacture, transportation, import, export, sale, and consumption of alcohol and alcoholic beverages. The term can also apply to the periods in the histories of the countries during which the...

ist, and an opponent of Darwinism
Darwinism
Darwinism is a set of movements and concepts related to ideas of transmutation of species or of evolution, including some ideas with no connection to the work of Charles Darwin....

 on religious grounds.
Quotations

Success is brought by continued labor and continued watchfulness. We must struggle on, not for one moment hesitate, nor take one backward step.

s:Illinois College Valedictory, by William J. Bryan (1881)|Illinois College Valedictory (1881)

A man who murders another shortens by a few brief years the life of a human being; but he who votes to increase the burden of debts upon the people of the United States assumes a graver responsibility.

s:First Speech Against Unconditional Repeal|First Speech Against Unconditional Repeal (February 9, 1893)

The poor man who takes property by force is called a thief, but the creditor who can by legislation make a debtor pay a dollar twice as large as he borrowed is lauded as the friend of a sound currency. The man who wants the people to destroy the Government is an anarchist, but the man who wants the Government to destroy the people is a patriot.

s:Principal Speech Against Unconditional Repeal|Principal Speech Against Unconditional Repeal (August 16, 1893)

Next to the ministry I know of no more noble profession than the law. The object aimed at is justice, equal and exact, and if it does not reach that end at once it is because the stream is diverted by selfishness or checked by ignorance. Its principles ennoble and its practice elevates.

"s:The Law and the Gospel, by William J. Bryan|The Law and the Gospel"

You cannot judge a man's life by the success of a moment, by the victory of an hour, or even by the results of a year. You must view his life as a whole. You must stand where you can see the man as he treads the entire path that leads from the cradle to the grave — now crossing the plain, now climbing the steeps, now passing through pleasant fields, now wending his way with difficulty between rugged rocks — tempted, tried, tested, triumphant.

"The Law and the Gospel"

I have been so satisfied with the Christian religion that I have spent no time trying to find arguments against it.… I am not afraid now that you will show me any. I feel that I have enough information to live and die by.

Scopes trial testimony (July 1925)

The only purpose Mr. Darrow has is to slur at the Bible, but I will answer his question. I will answer it all at once, and I have no objection in the world. I want the world to know that this man, who does not believe in a God, is trying to use a court in Tennessee to slur at it.

Scopes trial testimony (July 1925)

Encyclopedia
William Jennings Bryan (March 19, 1860 – July 26, 1925) was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. He was a dominant force in the liberal
Liberalism in the United States
Liberalism in the United States is a broad political philosophy centered on the unalienable rights of the individual. The fundamental liberal ideals of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion for all belief systems, and the separation of church and state, right to due process...

 wing of the Democratic Party, standing three times as its candidate for President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 (1896, 1900 and 1908). He served in the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 briefly as a Representative
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 from Nebraska
Nebraska
Nebraska is a state on the Great Plains of the Midwestern United States. The state's capital is Lincoln and its largest city is Omaha, on the Missouri River....

 and was the 41st United States Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 under President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

, 1913–1916. Bryan was a devout Presbyterian
Presbyterianism
Presbyterianism refers to a number of Christian churches adhering to the Calvinist theological tradition within Protestantism, which are organized according to a characteristic Presbyterian polity. Presbyterian theology typically emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures,...

, a supporter of popular democracy
Popular democracy
Popular democracy is a notion of direct democracy based on referendums and other devices of empowerment and concretization of popular will. The concept evolved out of the political philosophy of Populism, as a fully democratic version of this popular empowerment ideology, but since it has become...

, an enemy of gold
Gold standard
The gold standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is a fixed mass of gold. There are distinct kinds of gold standard...

, banks and railroads, a leader of the silverite
Free Silver
Free Silver was an important United States political policy issue in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Its advocates were in favor of an inflationary monetary policy using the "free coinage of silver" as opposed to the less inflationary Gold Standard; its supporters were called...

 movement in the 1890s, a peace advocate, a prohibition
Prohibition
Prohibition of alcohol, often referred to simply as prohibition, is the practice of prohibiting the manufacture, transportation, import, export, sale, and consumption of alcohol and alcoholic beverages. The term can also apply to the periods in the histories of the countries during which the...

ist, and an opponent of Darwinism
Darwinism
Darwinism is a set of movements and concepts related to ideas of transmutation of species or of evolution, including some ideas with no connection to the work of Charles Darwin....

 on religious grounds. With his deep, commanding voice and wide travels, he was one of the best known orators and lecturers of the era. Because of his faith in the goodness and rightness of the common people, he was called "The Great Commoner."

In the intensely fought 1896
United States presidential election, 1896
The United States presidential election held on November 3, 1896, saw Republican William McKinley defeat Democrat William Jennings Bryan in a campaign considered by political scientists to be one of the most dramatic and complex in American history....

 and 1900 elections
United States presidential election, 1900
The United States presidential election of 1900 was a re-match of the 1896 race between Republican President William McKinley and his Democratic challenger, William Jennings Bryan. The return of economic prosperity and recent victory in the Spanish–American War helped McKinley to score a decisive...

, he was defeated by William McKinley
William McKinley
William McKinley, Jr. was the 25th President of the United States . He is best known for winning fiercely fought elections, while supporting the gold standard and high tariffs; he succeeded in forging a Republican coalition that for the most part dominated national politics until the 1930s...

 but retained control of the Democratic Party
History of the United States Democratic Party
The history of the Democratic Party of the United States is an account of the oldest political party in the United States and arguably the oldest democratic party in the world....

. With over 500 speeches in 1896, Bryan invented the national stumping tour
Stump speech (politics)
A political stump speech is a standard speech used by a politician running for office. The term derives from the custom in 19th century America for political candidates campaigning from town to town to stand upon a sawed off tree stump to deliver a standard speech...

, in an era when other presidential candidates stayed home. In his three presidential bids, he promoted Free Silver
Free Silver
Free Silver was an important United States political policy issue in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Its advocates were in favor of an inflationary monetary policy using the "free coinage of silver" as opposed to the less inflationary Gold Standard; its supporters were called...

 in 1896, anti-imperialism
Anti-imperialism
Anti-imperialism, strictly speaking, is a term that may be applied to a movement opposed to any form of colonialism or imperialism. Anti-imperialism includes opposition to wars of conquest, particularly of non-contiguous territory or people with a different language or culture; it also includes...

 in 1900, and trust-busting in 1908
United States presidential election, 1908
The United States presidential election of 1908 was held on November 3, 1908. Popular incumbent President Theodore Roosevelt, honoring a promise not to seek a third term, persuaded the Republican Party to nominate William Howard Taft, his close friend and Secretary of War, to become his successor...

, calling on Democrats to fight the trusts
Trust (19th century)
A special trust or business trust is a business entity formed with intent to monopolize business, to restrain trade, or to fix prices. Trusts gained economic power in the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some, but not all, were organized as trusts in the legal sense...

 (big corporations) and big banks, and embrace anti-elitist ideals of republicanism
Republicanism in the United States
Republicanism is the political value system that has been a major part of American civic thought since the American Revolution. It stresses liberty and inalienable rights as central values, makes the people as a whole sovereign, supports activist government to promote the common good, rejects...

. President Wilson appointed him Secretary of State in 1913, but Wilson's strong demands on Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 after the Lusitania
RMS Lusitania
RMS Lusitania was a British ocean liner designed by Leonard Peskett and built by John Brown and Company of Clydebank, Scotland. The ship entered passenger service with the Cunard Line on 26 August 1907 and continued on the line's heavily-traveled passenger service between Liverpool, England and New...

were torpedoed in 1915 which caused Bryan to resign in protest. After 1920 he was a strong supporter of Prohibition
Prohibition in the United States
Prohibition in the United States was a national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, in place from 1920 to 1933. The ban was mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, and the Volstead Act set down the rules for enforcing the ban, as well as defining which...

 and energetically attacked Darwinism and evolution, most famously at the Scopes Trial
Scopes Trial
The Scopes Trial—formally known as The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes and informally known as the Scopes Monkey Trial—was a landmark American legal case in 1925 in which high school science teacher, John Scopes, was accused of violating Tennessee's Butler Act which made it unlawful to...

 in 1925. Five days after Bryan had won the case, he died in his sleep.

Background and early career: 1860–1896

William Jennings Bryan was born in Salem, Illinois
Salem, Illinois
Salem is a city located in the U.S. state of Illinois. It is the county seat of Marion County. The population was 7,485 at the 2010 census.Salem is the birthplace of William Jennings Bryan and his brother vice presidential candidate Charles W. Bryan, the G. I. Bill of Rights, and Miracle Whip salad...

 on March 19, 1860, to Silas Lillard Bryan and Mariah Elizabeth (Jennings) Bryan.

Bryan's mother was of English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 heritage. Mary Bryan joined the Salem Baptist
Baptist
Baptists comprise a group of Christian denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers , and that it must be done by immersion...

s in 1872, so Bryan attended Methodist services on Sunday morning, and in the afternoon, Baptist services. At this point, William began spending his Sunday afternoons at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Cumberland Presbyterian Church
The Cumberland Presbyterian Church is a Presbyterian Christian denomination spawned by the Second Great Awakening. In 2007, it had an active membership of less than 50,000 and about 800 congregations, the majority of which are concentrated in the United States...

. At age 14, Bryan attended a revival
Revival meeting
A revival meeting is a series of Christian religious services held in order to inspire active members of a church body, to raise funds and to gain new converts...

, was baptized, and joined the Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Cumberland Presbyterian Church
The Cumberland Presbyterian Church is a Presbyterian Christian denomination spawned by the Second Great Awakening. In 2007, it had an active membership of less than 50,000 and about 800 congregations, the majority of which are concentrated in the United States...

. In later life, Bryan said the day of his baptism was the most important day in his life, but at the time it caused little change in his daily routine. He left the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and joined the larger Presbyterian Church in the United States of America
Presbyterian Church in the United States of America
The Presbyterian Church in the United States of America was a Presbyterian denomination in the United States. It was organized in 1789 under the leadership of John Witherspoon in the wake of the American Revolution and existed until 1958 when it merged with the United Presbyterian Church of North...

.

His father Silas, of Scotch-Irish and English stock, was an avid Jacksonian Democrat. Silas won election to the Illinois State Senate, but was defeated for re-election in 1860. He did win election as a state circuit judge, and moved to a 520 acres (210.4 ha) farm north of Salem in 1866, living in a ten-room house that was the envy of Marion County.

Until age ten, Bryan was home-schooled, finding in the Bible and McGuffey Readers
McGuffey Readers
McGuffey Readers were a series of graded primers that were widely used as textbooks in American schools from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, and are still used today in some private schools and in homeschooling....

 support for his views that gambling and liquor were evil and sinful. To attend Whipple Academy, which was attached to Illinois College
Illinois College
Illinois College is a private, liberal arts college, affiliated with the United Church of Christ and the Presbyterian Church , and located in Jacksonville, Illinois. It was the second college founded in Illinois, but the first to grant a degree . It was founded in 1829 by the Illinois Band,...

, Bryan was sent to Jacksonville, Illinois
Jacksonville, Illinois
Jacksonville is a city in Morgan County, Illinois, United States. The population was 18,940 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Morgan County....

 in 1874.

Following high school, he entered Illinois College, graduating as valedictorian in 1881. During his time at Illinois College, Bryan was a member of the Sigma Pi literary society. He studied law at Union Law College in Chicago (which later became Northwestern University School of Law
Northwestern University School of Law
The Northwestern University School of Law is a private American law school in Chicago, Illinois. The law school was founded in 1859 as the Union College of Law of the Old University of Chicago. The first law school established in Chicago, it became jointly controlled by Northwestern University in...

). While preparing for the bar exam, he taught high school and met Mary Elizabeth Baird, a cousin of William Sherman Jennings. He married her on Oct. 1, 1884, and they settled in Salem, which at the time had a population of two thousand.

Mary became a lawyer and collaborated with him on all his speeches and writings. He practiced law in Jacksonville from 1883 to 1887, then moved to the boom city of Lincoln, Nebraska
Lincoln, Nebraska
The City of Lincoln is the capital and the second-most populous city of the US state of Nebraska. Lincoln is also the county seat of Lancaster County and the home of the University of Nebraska. Lincoln's 2010 Census population was 258,379....

. Bryan became a life-long friend of James Dahlman
James Dahlman
James Charles Dahlman , also known as Jim Dahlman, Cowboy Jim and Mayor Jim, was elected to eight terms as mayor of Omaha, Nebraska, serving the city for 20 years over a 23-year-period. A German-American and an agnostic, Dahlman grew up in a ranching area and started working as a Texas cowboy...

; Dahlman helped carry Nebraska for Bryan twice as state Democratic Party chairman. Even when Dahlman became closely associated with Omaha's vice elements, including the breweries as the city's eight-term mayor, he and Bryan maintained a collegial relationship.

In the Democratic landslide of 1890, Bryan was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and he was re-elected by 140 votes in 1892. He ran for the Senate in 1894, but a Republican landslide led to the state Legislature's choice of a Republican for the Senate seat.

First campaign for the White House: 1896

Bryan had an innate talent at oratory. He gave speeches, organized meetings, and adopted resounding resolutions that eventually culminated in the founding of the American Bimetallic League, which then evolved into the National Bimetallic Union, and finally the National Silver Committee. At the time many farmer's groups believed that by increasing the amount of currency in circulation, commodities would receive higher prices. They were opposed by banks and bond holders who feared inflation. The ultimate goal of the league was to garner support on national level for the reinstatement the coinage of silver. With others, he made certain that the Democratic platform reflected the now strengthening spirit of Midwestern populism. With his support, Charles H. Jones of the St Louis Post-Dispatch, was put on the platform committee and Bryan's plank for free silver was adopted sixteen to one and silently added to the Chicago Democratic Platform, in order to avoid controversy. As a minority member of the resolutions committee, Bryan was able to push the Democratic Party from its post-Civil War basis towards its modern, liberal one. Through these measures, the public and influential democrats became convinced of his capacity to lead and bring change, resulting in his being mentioned as a possible chairman for the Chicago convention.

In 1893, the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act
Sherman Silver Purchase Act
The Sherman Silver Purchase Act was enacted on July 14, 1890 as a United States federal law. It was named after its author, Senator John Sherman, an Ohio Republican, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee...

 resulted in the collapse of the silver market. Bryan delivered speeches across the country for free silver from 1894 to 1896, building a grass-roots reputation as a powerful champion of the cause.

At the 1896 Democratic National Convention
1896 Democratic National Convention
The 1896 Democratic National Convention, held at the Chicago Coliseum from July 7 to July 11, was the scene of William Jennings Bryan's nomination as Democratic presidential candidate for the 1896 U.S. presidential election....

, Bryan lambasted Eastern moneyed classes for supporting the gold standard
Gold standard
The gold standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is a fixed mass of gold. There are distinct kinds of gold standard...

 at the expense of the average worker. His "Cross of Gold" speech
Cross of Gold speech
The Cross of Gold speech was delivered by William Jennings Bryan at the 1896 Democratic National Convention in Chicago on July 8, 1896. The speech advocated bimetallism. Following the Coinage Act , the United States abandoned its policy of bimetallism and began to operate a de facto gold...

 made him the sensational new face in the Democratic party. That same year he became the first presidential candidate to campaign in a car (a donated Mueller) in Decatur, Illinois
Decatur, Illinois
Decatur is the largest city and the county seat of Macon County in the U.S. state of Illinois. The city, sometimes called "the Soybean Capital of the World", was founded in 1823 and is located along the Sangamon River and Lake Decatur in Central Illinois. In 2000 the city population was 81,500,...

.

The Bourbon Democrats who supported incumbent conservative President Grover Cleveland
Grover Cleveland
Stephen Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th president of the United States. Cleveland is the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms and therefore is the only individual to be counted twice in the numbering of the presidents...

 were defeated, and the party's agrarian and silver factions voted for Bryan, giving him the nomination of the Democratic Party. At the age of 36, Bryan became (and still remains) the youngest presidential nominee of a major party in American history.

Disappointed with the direction of their party, Gold Democrats
National Democratic Party (United States)
The National Democratic Party or Gold Democrats was a short-lived political party of Bourbon Democrats, who opposed the regular party nominee William Jennings Bryan in 1896. Most members were admirers of Grover Cleveland. They considered Bryan a dangerous man and charged that his "free silver"...

 invited Cleveland to run as a third-party candidate, but he declined. Cleveland did, however, support John M. Palmer
John M. Palmer (politician)
John McAuley Palmer , was an Illinois resident, an American Civil War General who fought for the Union, the 15th Governor of Illinois, and presidential candidate of the National Democratic Party in the 1896 election on a platform to defend the gold standard, free trade, and limited...

, nominee of the Gold Democrats, rather than Bryan.

Bryan also formally received the nominations of the Populist Party
Populist Party (United States)
The People's Party, also known as the "Populists", was a short-lived political party in the United States established in 1891. It was most important in 1892-96, then rapidly faded away...

 and the Silver Republican Party
Silver Republican Party
The Silver Republican Party was a United States political faction active in the 1890s. It was so named because it split from the Republican Party over the issues of "Free Silver" and bimetallism. The main Republican Party supported the gold standard....

. With the three nominations, voters from any party could vote for Bryan without crossing party lines. In 1896, the Populists rejected Bryan's Democratic running mate, Maine banker Arthur Sewall
Arthur Sewall
Arthur Sewall was a U.S. Democratic politician from Maine most notable as William Jennings Bryan's first running mate in 1896. As the Populist Party nominee, Bryan had another running mate as well, Thomas E. Watson...

, and named as his running mate Georgia Populist Thomas E. Watson
Thomas E. Watson
Thomas Edward "Tom" Watson was an American politician, newspaper editor, and writer from Georgia. In the 1890s Watson championed poor farmers as a leader of the Populist Party, articulating an agrarian political viewpoint while attacking business, bankers, railroads, Democratic President Grover...

. People could vote for Bryan and Sewall (on the Democratic or Silver Republican lines), or for Bryan and Watson (on the People's Party line).
The Republicans nominated William McKinley
William McKinley
William McKinley, Jr. was the 25th President of the United States . He is best known for winning fiercely fought elections, while supporting the gold standard and high tariffs; he succeeded in forging a Republican coalition that for the most part dominated national politics until the 1930s...

 on a platform calling for prosperity for everyone through industrial growth, high tariffs, and "sound money" (gold). Republicans ridiculed Bryan as a Populist. However, "Bryan's reform program was not based on the Populists--for example, the Populists Free Silver took Free Silver from Bryan's Democrats, not vice versa--but he used the same crusading rhetoric against railroads, banks, insurance companies and businesses that has often been mistaken for Populism. Bryan remained a staunch Democrat throughout his career.

Bryan demanded Bimetallism
Bimetallism
In economics, bimetallism is a monetary standard in which the value of the monetary unit is defined as equivalent both to a certain quantity of gold and to a certain quantity of silver; such a system establishes a fixed rate of exchange between the two metals...

 and "Free Silver
Free Silver
Free Silver was an important United States political policy issue in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Its advocates were in favor of an inflationary monetary policy using the "free coinage of silver" as opposed to the less inflationary Gold Standard; its supporters were called...

" at a ratio of 16:1. Most leading Democratic newspapers rejected his candidacy. Despite this rejection by the newspapers, Bryan won the Democratic vote.

Republicans discovered in August that Bryan was solidly ahead in the South and West, but far behind in the Northeast. He appeared to be ahead in the Midwest, so the Republicans concentrated their efforts there. They said Bryan was a madman, a religious fanatic surrounded by anarchists, who would wreck the economy. By late September, the Republicans felt they were ahead in the decisive Midwest and began emphasizing that McKinley would bring prosperity to all Americans. McKinley scored solid gains among the middle classes, factory and railroad workers, prosperous farmers, and the German American
German American
German Americans are citizens of the United States of German ancestry and comprise about 51 million people, or 17% of the U.S. population, the country's largest self-reported ancestral group...

s who rejected free silver. Bryan gave 500 speeches in 27 states. McKinley won by a margin of 271 to 176 in the electoral college.

War and peace: 1898–1900

Bryan strongly supported the Spanish-American War
Spanish-American War
The Spanish–American War was a conflict in 1898 between Spain and the United States, effectively the result of American intervention in the ongoing Cuban War of Independence...

 in 1898. According to historian William Leuchtenburg
William Leuchtenburg
William E. Leuchtenburg is William Rand Kenan Jr. professor emeritus of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at Chapel Hill and a leading scholar of the life and career of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He is the author of more than a dozen books on 20th century history ,...

, "few political figures exceeded the enthusiasm of William Jennings Bryan for the Spanish war." Bryan argued that "universal peace cannot come until justice is enthroned throughout the world. Until the right has triumphed in every land and love reigns in every heart, government must, as a last resort, appeal to force." He volunteered for duty and became colonel of a Nebraska militia regiment. He contracted typhoid fever in Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 and stayed there to recuperate, never seeing combat. After the war, Bryan opposed the annexation of the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 (though he did support the Treaty of Paris
Treaty of Paris (1898)
The Treaty of Paris of 1898 was signed on December 10, 1898, at the end of the Spanish-American War, and came into effect on April 11, 1899, when the ratifications were exchanged....

 that ended the war). Bryan gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention
Democratic National Convention
The Democratic National Convention is a series of presidential nominating conventions held every four years since 1832 by the United States Democratic Party. They have been administered by the Democratic National Committee since the 1852 national convention...

 in 1900 called "The Paralyzing Influence of Imperialism
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

." In this speech he discusses his views against the annexation of the Philippines, questioning the United States's right to overpower people of another country just for a military base. He mentions, at the beginning of the speech, that the United States should not try to emulate the imperialism of Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 and other European countries.

Presidential election of 1900

He ran as an anti-imperialist in 1900, finding himself in alliance with Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish-American industrialist, businessman, and entrepreneur who led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century...

 and other millionaires. Republicans mocked Bryan as indecisive, or a coward, a point spoofed by the Bryan-like Cowardly Lion
Cowardly Lion
The Cowardly Lion is the main character in the fictional Land of Oz created by American author L. Frank Baum. He is a Lion, but he talks and interacts with humans....

 in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Political interpretations of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Political interpretations of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz include treatments of the modern fairy tale as an allegory or metaphor for the political, economic and social events of America in the 1890s...

, published in the spring of 1900.

Bryan combined anti-imperialism with free silver, saying:


The nation is of age and it can do what it pleases; it can spurn the traditions of the past; it can repudiate the principles upon which the nation rests; it can employ force instead of reason; it can substitute might for right; it can conquer weaker people; it can exploit their lands, appropriate their property and kill their people; but it cannot repeal the moral law or escape the punishment decreed for the violation of human rights.


In a typical day he gave four hour-long speeches and shorter talks that added up to six hours of speaking. At an average rate of 175 words a minute, he turned out 63,000 words, enough to fill 52 columns of a newspaper. In Wisconsin, he once made 12 speeches in 15 hours. He held his base in the South, but lost part of the West as McKinley retained the Northeast and Midwest and rolled up a landslide. McKinley won the electoral college with a count of 292 votes compared to Bryan's 155. Bryan lost more states than he had in 1896.

Chautauqua circuit

Before Bryan held any political office there remained a need for income; public speaking would not become any less of a passion as it also became a source of income for Bryan and his family. Bryan was a regular on what was informally called the "Chautauqua circuit," in which celebrities traveled from town to town, over and over, giving paid speeches.

Bryan owned land in Nebraska
Nebraska
Nebraska is a state on the Great Plains of the Midwestern United States. The state's capital is Lincoln and its largest city is Omaha, on the Missouri River....

 and a 240 acre (0.9712464 km²) ranch
Ranch
A ranch is an area of landscape, including various structures, given primarily to the practice of ranching, the practice of raising grazing livestock such as cattle or sheep for meat or wool. The word most often applies to livestock-raising operations in the western United States and Canada, though...

 in Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

; both were paid for with earnings from speeches and his weekly newspaper The Commoner. Bryan usually charged $500 per speech in addition to a percentage of the profits.

Presidential election of 1908

The 1908 election was Bryan’s third attempt at gaining the presidency. The Democrats nominated Bryan by a wide margin at the Democratic convention held in Denver and decided on John Kern
John W. Kern
John Worth Kern was a Democratic United States Senator from Indiana. While the title was not official, he is considered to be the first Senate Majority leader , while serving concurrently as Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus.Born in Alto, Indiana, Kern studied law at the University of...

, a politician from Indiana, as his running mate. Bryan ran against the Republicans, and Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

’s hand-picked nominee William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft was the 27th President of the United States and later the tenth Chief Justice of the United States...

.

Bryan launched a special message to Congress, suggesting income and inheritance taxes, publicity on campaign contribution and opposing the use of the navy for the collection of private debts. Taking a modern conservative viewpoint, in contemporary times, that the government that governs least, and intrudes the least, and lets the private sector, and individual merit and ability to run the nation he inserted in a speech he had no desire, nor did he think it was beneficial for the government ownership upon the nation, and he would be powerless to force government ownership upon the country against the will of the people. He further elucidated his point by launching campaign of attacks against corporation domination, which he asserted had no altruism. Going on to urge that all corporation contributions be made public before the election day, and that failure to cooperate be made a penal offense.

The GOP ran its campaign on the benefits of the Roosevelt administration, creation of a postal service, continuation of "Sound Currency", citizenship for Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 inhabitants, regulation on big business, and tariff
Tariff
A tariff may be either tax on imports or exports , or a list or schedule of prices for such things as rail service, bus routes, and electrical usage ....

 revision in protectionist mode.

Bryan and the Democrats’ platform denounced the wrongs done by the Republican party: Congress spent too much money; Roosevelt hand picked Taft in undemocratic fashion; Republicans wanted centralization; Republicans favored monopolies. In response, Bryan unleashed the slogan, "Shall the People Rule?" In a time of peace and prosperity, and Republican trust-busting, Bryan fared poorly among the voters. He lost the electoral college 321 to 162, his worst defeat yet, and did not carry any of the states in the Northeast.

Chautauqua circuit: 1900–1912

For the next 25 years, Bryan was the most popular Chautauqua
Chautauqua
Chautauqua was an adult education movement in the United States, highly popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Chautauqua assemblies expanded and spread throughout rural America until the mid-1920s. The Chautauqua brought entertainment and culture for the whole community, with...

 speaker, delivering thousands of paid speeches in towns across the land, even while serving as secretary of state. He mostly spoke about religion, but covered a wide variety of topics. His most popular lecture (and his personal favorite) was a lecture entitled "The Prince of Peace", which stressed that religion was the solid foundation of morality, and individual and group morality was the foundation for peace and equality. Another famous lecture from this period, "The Value of an Ideal", was a stirring call to public service. During this time William Jennings Bryan was initiated as a brother into the Delta Chi
Delta Chi
Delta Chi or D-Chi is an international Greek letter college social fraternity formed on October 13, 1890,at Cornell University, initially as a professional fraternity for law students. On April 29, 1922, Delta Chi became a general membership social fraternity, eliminating the requirement for men...

 Fraternity - Georgetown Chapter http://books.google.com/books?id=vQQTAAAAIAAJ&pg=RA3-PA37&lpg=RA3-PA37&dq=william+jenning+bryan+and+delta+chi&source=bl&ots=MlxN7BwK4F&sig=bULT0SHG5N9JTANwsYBYT-2dLyg&hl=en&ei=79gzTYrNJ8TXgQfW-LyDCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CFEQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q&f=false.

In a 1905 speech, Bryan warned that "the Darwinian theory represents man reaching his present perfection by the operation of the law of hate, the merciless law by which the strong crowd out and kill off the weak. If this is the law of our development then, if there is any logic that can bind the human mind, we shall turn backward to the beast in proportion as we substitute the law of love. I choose to believe that love rather than hatred is the law of development."

Bryan threw himself into the work of the Social Gospel
Social Gospel
The Social Gospel movement is a Protestant Christian intellectual movement that was most prominent in the early 20th century United States and Canada...

. Bryan served on organizations containing a large number of theological liberals—he sat on the temperance
Temperance movement
A temperance movement is a social movement urging reduced use of alcoholic beverages. Temperance movements may criticize excessive alcohol use, promote complete abstinence , or pressure the government to enact anti-alcohol legislation or complete prohibition of alcohol.-Temperance movement by...

 committee of the Federal Council of Churches and on the general committee of the short-lived Inter-church World Movement.

In 1899 Bryan founded a weekly magazine, The Commoner, calling on Democrats to dissolve the trusts, regulate the railroads more tightly, and support the Progressive Movement. He regarded prohibition as a "local" issue and did not endorse it until 1910. In London in 1906, he presented a plan to the Inter-Parliamentary Peace Conference for arbitration of disputes that he hoped would avert warfare. He tentatively called for nationalization of the railroads, then backtracked and called only for more regulation. His party nominated Bourbon Democrat
Bourbon Democrat
Bourbon Democrat was a term used in the United States from 1876 to 1904 to refer to a member of the Democratic Party, conservative or classical liberal, especially one who supported President Grover Cleveland in 1884–1888/1892–1896 and Alton B. Parker in 1904. After 1904, the Bourbons faded away...

 Alton B. Parker
Alton B. Parker
Alton Brooks Parker was an American lawyer, judge and the Democratic nominee for U.S. president in the 1904 elections.-Life:...

 in 1904
United States presidential election, 1904
The United States presidential election of 1904 held on November 8, 1904, resulted in the election to a full term for President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt had succeeded to the presidency upon the assassination of William McKinley. The Republican Party unanimously nominated him for president at...

, who lost to Roosevelt. For two years following this defeat, Bryan would pursue his public speaking ventures on an international stage. From 1904 to 1906, Bryan traveled globally, preaching, sightseeing with his wife Mary, lecturing, and all while escaping the political upheaval in Washington. Bryan crusaded as well for the initiative and referendum, making a whistle-stop campaign tour of Arkansas in 1910. Bryan's speech to the students of Washington and Lee University
Washington and Lee University
Washington and Lee University is a private liberal arts college in Lexington, Virginia, United States.The classical school from which Washington and Lee descended was established in 1749 as Augusta Academy, about north of its present location. In 1776 it was renamed Liberty Hall in a burst of...

 began the Washington and Lee Mock Convention
Washington and Lee Mock Convention
Washington and Lee Mock Convention is a simulated Presidential nominating convention and is held once every four years, during the early stages of the U.S. Presidential Primary, at Washington and Lee University...

.

Secretary of State: 1913–1915

For supporting Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

 for the presidency in 1912, Bryan was appointed as Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

. However, Wilson only nominally consulted him and made all the major foreign policy decisions himself. Bryan negotiated 28 treaties that promised arbitration of disputes before war broke out between the signatory countries and the United States. He had made several attempts to negotiate a treaty with Germany, but ultimately was never able to succeed. In the civil war in Mexico in 1914, Bryan supported American military intervention.

In September 1914 he wrote President Wilson urging mediation in the First World War:
Bryan tried to choke the American credit to the Entente, saying "money is the worst of all contrabands because it commands everything else" but eventually yielded. He also pointed out that by traveling on British vessels "an American citizen can, by putting his own business above his regard for this country, assume for his own advantage unnecessary risks and thus involve his country in international complications"

Wilson's demands for "strict accountability for any infringement of [American] rights, intentional or incidental" after the sinking of the Lusitania troubled Bryan, leading to his resignation in June 1915.

Prohibition battles: 1916–1925

Despite their differences, Bryan campaigned as a private citizen for Wilson's reelection in 1916. When war was declared in April 1917, Bryan wrote Wilson, "Believing it to be the duty of the citizen to bear his part of the burden of war and his share of the peril, I hereby tender my services to the Government. Please enroll me as a private whenever I am needed and assign me to any work that I can do." Wilson, however, did not allow the 57-year-old Bryan to rejoin the military, and did not offer him any wartime role.

Bryan campaigned for the Constitutional amendments on prohibition
Prohibition in the United States
Prohibition in the United States was a national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, in place from 1920 to 1933. The ban was mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, and the Volstead Act set down the rules for enforcing the ban, as well as defining which...

 and women's suffrage
Women's suffrage
Women's suffrage or woman suffrage is the right of women to vote and to run for office. The expression is also used for the economic and political reform movement aimed at extending these rights to women and without any restrictions or qualifications such as property ownership, payment of tax, or...

. Partly to avoid Nebraska ethnics such as the German-Americans
German American
German Americans are citizens of the United States of German ancestry and comprise about 51 million people, or 17% of the U.S. population, the country's largest self-reported ancestral group...

 who were "wet" and opposed to prohibition, Bryan moved to Coconut Grove in Miami
Miami, Florida
Miami is a city located on the Atlantic coast in southeastern Florida and the county seat of Miami-Dade County, the most populous county in Florida and the eighth-most populous county in the United States with a population of 2,500,625...

, Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 in 1913. He called his home on Brickell Avenue Villa Serena. Later, in 1925, he moved to a new home further south in Coconut Grove on Main Highway called Marymont. Bryan filled lucrative speaking engagements, including playing the part of spokesman for George E. Merrick
George E. Merrick
George Edgar Merrick was a real estate developer who is best known as the planner and builder of the city of Coral Gables, Florida in the 1920s, one of the first planned communities in the United States ....

's new planned community Coral Gables
Coral Gables, Florida
Coral Gables is a city in Miami-Dade County, Florida, southwest of Downtown Miami, in the United States. The city is home to the University of Miami....

, addressing large crowds across a Venetian pool for an annual salary of over $100,000. He was also extremely active in Christian organizations. Bryan refused to support the party's presidential nominee James M. Cox
James M. Cox
James Middleton Cox was the 46th and 48th Governor of Ohio, U.S. Representative from Ohio and Democratic candidate for President of the United States in the election of 1920....

 in 1920, because he deemed Cox not dry enough. As one biographer explains,
Bryan's national campaigning helped Congress pass the 18th Amendment
Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Eighteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution established Prohibition in the United States. The separate Volstead Act set down methods of enforcing the Eighteenth Amendment, and defined which "intoxicating liquors" were prohibited, and which were excluded from prohibition...

 in 1918, which shut down all saloons as of 1920. But while prohibition was in effect, Bryan did not work to secure better enforcement. He opposed a highly controversial resolution at the 1924 convention condemning the Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan, often abbreviated KKK and informally known as the Klan, is the name of three distinct past and present far-right organizations in the United States, which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically...

, expecting it would soon fold. Bryan disliked the KKK but never publicly attacked it. For the nomination in 1924, he opposed the wet Al Smith
Al Smith
Alfred Emanuel Smith. , known in private and public life as Al Smith, was an American statesman who was elected the 42nd Governor of New York three times, and was the Democratic U.S. presidential candidate in 1928...

; Bryan's brother, Nebraska Governor
Governor of Nebraska
The Governor of Nebraska holds the "supreme executive power" of the State of Nebraska as provided by the fourth article of the Nebraska Constitution. The current Governor is Dave Heineman, a Republican, who assumed office on January 20, 2005 upon the resignation of Mike Johanns . He won a full...

 Charles W. Bryan
Charles W. Bryan
Charles Wayland Bryan was the younger brother of perennial U.S. Democratic presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, with whom he shares the distinction of being the only set of brothers to be nominated for national office by a major party.-Biography:Born in 1867 in Salem, Illinois, Bryan...

, was put on the ticket with John W. Davis
John W. Davis
John William Davis was an American politician, diplomat and lawyer. He served as a United States Representative from West Virginia , then as Solicitor General of the United States and US Ambassador to the UK under President Woodrow Wilson...

 as candidate for vice president
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

 to keep the Bryanites in line. Bryan was very close to his younger brother Charles and endorsed him for the vice presidency.

Bryan was the chief proponent of the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act
Harrison Narcotics Tax Act
The Harrison Narcotics Tax Act was a United States federal law that regulated and taxed the production, importation, and distribution of opiates...

, the precursor to our modern War on Drugs
War on Drugs
The War on Drugs is a campaign of prohibition and foreign military aid and military intervention being undertaken by the United States government, with the assistance of participating countries, intended to both define and reduce the illegal drug trade...

. However, he argued for the act's passage more as an international obligation than on moral grounds.

Fighting the theory of evolution: 1918–1925

Before World War I, Bryan believed moral progress could achieve equality at home and, in the international field, peace between all the world's nations.

Bryan opposed the theory of evolution for two reasons. First, he believed that what he considered a materialistic account of the descent of man through evolution undermined the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

. Second, he saw Social Darwinism
Social Darwinism
Social Darwinism is a term commonly used for theories of society that emerged in England and the United States in the 1870s, seeking to apply the principles of Darwinian evolution to sociology and politics...

 as a great evil force in the world promoting hatred and conflicts, especially the World War.

In his famous Chautauqua lecture, "The Prince of Peace," Bryan warned the theory of evolution could undermine the foundations of morality. However, he concluded, "While I do not accept the Darwinian theory I shall not quarrel with you about it."

One book Bryan read at this time convinced him that social Darwinism (emphasizing the struggle of the races) had undermined morality in Germany. Bryan was heavily influenced by Vernon Kellogg's 1917 book, Headquarters Nights: A Record of Conversations and Experiences at the Headquarters of the German Army in Belgium and France, which asserted (on the basis of a conversation with a reserve officer named Professor von Flussen) that German intellectuals were social Darwinists totally committed to might-makes-right.

Bryan also read The Science of Power (1918) by British social theorist Benjamin Kidd
Benjamin Kidd
Benjamin Kidd was a British sociologist. He entered the British civil service and did not become generally known until the publication of an essay, Social Evolution, in 1894...

, which credited the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche
Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche developed his philosophy during the late 19th century amid growing criticism of G. W. F. Hegel's philosophic system.Nietzsche owed the awakening of his philosophical interest to reading Arthur Schopenhauer's Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung and admitted that Schopenhauer was...

 with German nationalism, materialism, and militarism, which in turn was the outworking of the social Darwinian hypothesis.

In 1920, Bryan told the World Brotherhood Congress the theory of evolution was "the most paralyzing influence with which civilization has had to deal in the last century" and that Nietzsche, in carrying the theory of evolution to its logical conclusion, "promulgated a philosophy that condemned democracy,... denounced Christianity,... denied the existence of God, overturned all concepts of morality,... and endeavored to substitute the worship of the superhuman for the worship of Jehovah."

By 1921, Bryan saw Darwinism as a major internal threat to the US. The major study which seemed to convince Bryan of this was James H. Leuba
James H. Leuba
James Henry Leuba was an American psychologist, best known for his contributions to the psychology of religion. His work in this area is marked by a reductionistic tendency to explain mysticism and other religious experiences in physiological terms. Philosophically, his position may be described...

's The Belief in God and Immortality, a Psychological, Anthropological and Statistical Study (1916). In this study, Leuba shows that during four years of college a considerable number of college students lost their faith. Bryan was horrified that the next generation of American leaders might have the degraded sense of morality which he believed had prevailed in Germany and caused the Great War. Bryan then launched an anti-evolution campaign.

The campaign kicked off in October 1921, when the Union Theological Seminary
Union Theological Seminary & Presbyterian School of Christian Education
Union Presbyterian Seminary, located on the near north side of the city of Richmond, Virginia, is a theological seminary of the Presbyterian Church...

 in Richmond, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

 invited Bryan to deliver the James Sprunt Lectures. At its heart was a lecture entitled "The Origin of Man", in which Bryan asked, "what is the role of man in the universe and what is the purpose of man?" For Bryan, the Bible was absolutely central to answering this question, and moral responsibility and the spirit of brotherhood could only rest on belief in God.

The Sprunt lectures were published as In His Image, and sold over 100,000 copies, while "The Origin of Man" was published separately as The Menace of the theory of evolution and also sold very well.

Bryan was worried that the theory of evolution was making grounds not only in the universities, but also within the church itself. Many colleges were still church-affiliated at this point. The developments of 19th century liberal theology
Liberal Christianity
Liberal Christianity, sometimes called liberal theology, is an umbrella term covering diverse, philosophically and biblically informed religious movements and ideas within Christianity from the late 18th century and onward...

, and higher criticism in particular, had left the door open to the point where many clergymen were willing to embrace the theory of evolution and claimed that it was not contradictory with their being Christians. Determined to put an end to this, Bryan, who had long served as a Presbyterian elder, decided to run for the position of Moderator of the General Assembly
Moderator of the General Assembly
The Moderator of the General Assembly is the chairperson of a General Assembly, the highest court of a presbyterian or reformed church. Kirk Sessions and Presbyteries may also style the chairperson as moderator....

 of the Presbyterian Church in the USA, which was at the time embroiled in the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy
Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy
The Fundamentalist–Modernist Controversy was a religious controversy in the 1920s and 30s within the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America that later created divisions in most American Christian denominations as well. The major American denomination was torn by conflict over the...

 (Under Presbyterian church governance, clergy and laymen are equally represented in the General Assembly, and the post of Moderator is open to any member of General Assembly). Bryan's main competition in the race was the Rev. Charles F. Wishart, president of the College of Wooster, who had loudly endorsed the teaching of the theory of evolution in the college. Bryan lost to Wishart by a vote of 451-427. Bryan then failed in a proposal to cut off funds to schools where the theory of evolution was taught. Instead, the General Assembly announced disapproval of materialistic (as opposed to theistic) evolution.

In his efforts to bring some publicity to his cause, Bryan joined the American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association for the Advancement of Science
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization with the stated goals of promoting cooperation among scientists, defending scientific freedom, encouraging scientific responsibility, and supporting scientific education and science outreach for the...

 in 1924 and attended the annual meeting. A featured session at the meeting was a debate on biological evolution between Bryan and Edward Loranus Rice
Edward Loranus Rice
Edward Loranus Rice was a biologist and educator who served as the acting president of Ohio Wesleyan University. He was best known for his 1924 debate with William Jennings Bryan on the topic of biological evolution and serving as a scientific consultant to Clarence Darrow before the 1925 Scopes...

, a developmental biologist from the Methodist-associated Ohio Wesleyan University
Ohio Wesleyan University
Ohio Wesleyan University is a private liberal arts college in Delaware, Ohio, United States. It was founded in 1842 by Methodist leaders and Central Ohio residents as a nonsectarian institution, and is a member of the Ohio Five — a consortium of Ohio liberal arts colleges...

.

According to author Ronald L. Numbers, Bryan was not nearly as much of a fundamentalist as many modern-day creationists, and is more accurately described as a "day-age creationist": "William Jennings Bryan, the much misunderstood leader of the post–World War I antievolution crusade, not only read the Mosaic "days" as geological "ages" but allowed for the possibility of organic evolution—so long as it did not impinge on the supernatural origin of Adam and Eve."

Scopes trial: 1925

In addition to his unsuccessful advocacy of banning the teaching of evolution in church-run universities, Bryan also actively lobbied for state laws banning public schools from teaching evolution. The legislatures of several Southern states proved more receptive to his anti-evolution message than the Presbyterian Church had, and passed laws banning the teaching of evolution in public schools after Bryan addressed them. A prominent example was the Butler Act
Butler Act
The Butler Act was a 1925 Tennessee law prohibiting public school teachers from denying the Biblical account of man’s origin. It was enacted as Tennessee Code Annotated Title 49 Section 1922...

 of 1925, making it unlawful in Tennessee to teach that mankind evolved from lower life forms.

Bryan's participation in the highly publicized 1925 Scopes Trial
Scopes Trial
The Scopes Trial—formally known as The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes and informally known as the Scopes Monkey Trial—was a landmark American legal case in 1925 in which high school science teacher, John Scopes, was accused of violating Tennessee's Butler Act which made it unlawful to...

 served as a capstone to his career. He was asked by William Bell Riley
William Bell Riley
William Bell Riley was known as "The Grand Old Man of Fundamentalism." After being educated at normal school in Valparaiso, Indiana, Riley received his teacher's certificate. After teaching in county schools, he attended college in Hanover, Indiana, where he received an A.B. degree in 1885...

 to represent the World Christian Fundamentals Association
World Christian Fundamentals Association
World Christian Fundamentals Association, was an interdenominational organization founded in 1919 by the Baptist minister William Bell Riley of the First Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was originally formed to launch "a new Protestantism" based upon premillennial interpretations of...

 as counsel at the trial. During the trial, Bryan took the stand and was questioned by defense lawyer Clarence Darrow
Clarence Darrow
Clarence Seward Darrow was an American lawyer and leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union, best known for defending teenage thrill killers Leopold and Loeb in their trial for murdering 14-year-old Robert "Bobby" Franks and defending John T...

 about his views on the Bible. "Asked when the Flood occurred, Bryan consulted Usher's Bible Concordance,and gave the date as 2348 B.C., or 4273 years ago. Did not Bryan know, asked Darrow, that Chinese civilization had been traced back at least 7000 years?" Bryan conceded that he did not. He was also asked if the records of any other religion contain any mention of a flood at the time he cited? And Bryan replied: "The Christian religion has always been good enough for me--I never found it necessary to study any competing religion."

The national media reported the trial in great detail, with H. L. Mencken
H. L. Mencken
Henry Louis "H. L." Mencken was an American journalist, essayist, magazine editor, satirist, acerbic critic of American life and culture, and a scholar of American English. Known as the "Sage of Baltimore", he is regarded as one of the most influential American writers and prose stylists of the...

 using Bryan as a symbol of Southern ignorance (despite his not being from the South) and anti-intellectualism
Anti-intellectualism
Anti-intellectualism is hostility towards and mistrust of intellect, intellectuals, and intellectual pursuits, usually expressed as the derision of education, philosophy, literature, art, and science, as impractical and contemptible...

. In a more humorous vein, satirist Richard Armour
Richard Armour (poet)
Richard Willard Armour was an American poet and author who wrote over sixty-five books.-Life and work:Armour was born in San Pedro, Los Angeles, California. His father was a druggist, and Armour's autobiographical Drug Store Days recalls his childhood in both San Pedro and Pomona...

 stated in It All Started With Columbus that Darrow had "made a monkey out of" Bryan due to Bryan's ignorance of the Bible.

After the judge retroactively expunged all of Bryan's answers to Darrow's questions, both sides closed without summation. The jury quickly returned a guilty verdict with the defense's encouragement, and Bryan won the case. However, the state supreme court reversed the verdict on a technicality and Scopes went free.

Biologist Stephen Jay Gould
Stephen Jay Gould
Stephen Jay Gould was an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science. He was also one of the most influential and widely read writers of popular science of his generation....

 has speculated that Bryan's anti-evolution views were a result of his Populist
Populism
Populism can be defined as an ideology, political philosophy, or type of discourse. Generally, a common theme compares "the people" against "the elite", and urges social and political system changes. It can also be defined as a rhetorical style employed by members of various political or social...

 idealism and suggests that Bryan's fight was really against eugenics
Eugenics
Eugenics is the "applied science or the bio-social movement which advocates the use of practices aimed at improving the genetic composition of a population", usually referring to human populations. The origins of the concept of eugenics began with certain interpretations of Mendelian inheritance,...

. However, the biographers, especially Michael Kazin
Michael Kazin
Michael Kazin is a professor of history at Georgetown University. He is co-editor of Dissent magazine. See his website: http://michaelkazin.com- Early life :...

, reject that conclusion, based on Bryan's failure during the trial or at any other time to attack eugenics
Eugenics
Eugenics is the "applied science or the bio-social movement which advocates the use of practices aimed at improving the genetic composition of a population", usually referring to human populations. The origins of the concept of eugenics began with certain interpretations of Mendelian inheritance,...

; Kazin notes that there is a section on eugenics in Civic Biology
Civic Biology
A Civic Biology: Presented in Problems was a biology textbook written by George William Hunter, published in 1914. It is the book which the state of Tennessee required high school teachers to use in 1925 and is best known for its section about evolution that was ruled by a local court to be in...

, which was the biology textbook Scopes was in trouble for using.

Death

Immediately after the trial, Bryan continued to edit and deliver speeches, traveling hundreds of miles that week. On Sunday, July 26, 1925, he drove from Chattanooga to Dayton, Tennessee
Dayton, Tennessee
Dayton is a city in Rhea County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 6,180 at the 2000 census. The Dayton, TN, Urban Cluster, which includes developed areas adjacent to the city and extends south to Graysville, Tennessee, had 9,050 people in 2000...

 to attend a church service, ate a meal, and died (the result of diabetes and fatigue) in his sleep that afternoon—just five days after the Scopes trial ended. School Superintendent Walter White proposed that Dayton should create a Christian college as a lasting memorial to Bryan; fund raising was successful and Bryan College
Bryan College
Bryan College is a Christian liberal arts college in Dayton, Tennessee. It was founded in the aftermath of the 1925 Scopes Trial to establish an institution of higher education that would teach from a Christian worldview.-History:...

 opened in 1930. Bryan is buried in Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, is a military cemetery in the United States of America, established during the American Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House, formerly the estate of the family of Confederate general Robert E. Lee's wife Mary Anna Lee, a great...

. His tombstone reads "He kept the Faith." He was survived by among others, a daughter, Congresswoman Ruth Bryan Owen
Ruth Bryan Owen
Ruth Bryan Owen was the daughter of William Jennings Bryan and mother of Helen Rudd Brown. A Democrat, in 1929 she became Florida’s first woman representative in the United States Congress, coming from Florida’s 4th district. Representative Owen was also the first woman to earn a spot on the...

 and her son (by artist William Homer Leavitt
William Homer Leavitt
William Homer Leavitt was an American portrait painter who married the daughter of politician William Jennings Bryan. For a time, Leavitt was a sought-after society portraitist, until he departed for Paris to pursue his art. He was subsequently divorced by his wife, and his two children were...

) John Bryan Leavitt and daughter Ruth Leavitt, as well as two children by her second husband, British Royal Engineers
Royal Engineers
The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

 officer Reginald A. Owen.

Popular image

Inherit the Wind
Inherit the Wind (play)
Inherit the Wind is a play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee. The play, which debuted in 1955, is a parable that fictionalizes the 1925 Scopes "Monkey" Trial as a means to discuss the then-contemporary McCarthy trials.-Background:...

, a 1955 play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee, is a fictionalized account of the Scopes Trial written in response to McCarthyism
McCarthyism
McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. The term has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting roughly from the late 1940s to the late 1950s and characterized by...

. A populist thrice-defeated Presidential candidate from Nebraska named Matthew Harrison Brady comes to a small town named Hillsboro in the Deep South to help prosecute a young teacher for teaching evolution to his schoolchildren. He is opposed by a famous trial lawyer, Henry Drummond, and chastised by a cynical newspaperman as the trial assumes a national profile. Critics of the play charge that it mischaracterizes Bryan and the trial.

Bryan also appears as a character in Douglas Moore's 1956 opera, The Ballad of Baby Doe and is briefly mentioned in John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck
John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. was an American writer. He is widely known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden and the novella Of Mice and Men...

's East of Eden. In addition, he is a (very) minor character in Thomas Wolfe
Thomas Wolfe
Thomas Clayton Wolfe was a major American novelist of the early 20th century.Wolfe wrote four lengthy novels, plus many short stories, dramatic works and novellas. He is known for mixing highly original, poetic, rhapsodic, and impressionistic prose with autobiographical writing...

's Look Homeward, Angel
Look Homeward, Angel
Look Homeward, Angel: A Story of the Buried Life is a 1929 novel by Thomas Wolfe. It is Wolfe's first novel, and is considered a highly autobiographical American Bildungsroman. The character of Eugene Gant is generally believed to be a depiction of Wolfe himself. The novel covers the span of time...

. His death is referred to in Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His economic and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the...

's The Sun Also Rises
The Sun Also Rises
The Sun Also Rises is a 1926 novel written by American author Ernest Hemingway about a group of American and British expatriates who travel from Paris to the Festival of San Fermín in Pamplona to watch the running of the bulls and the bullfights. An early and enduring modernist novel, it received...

. In Robert A. Heinlein
Robert A. Heinlein
Robert Anson Heinlein was an American science fiction writer. Often called the "dean of science fiction writers", he was one of the most influential and controversial authors of the genre. He set a standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of...

's Job: A Comedy of Justice
Job: A Comedy of Justice
Job: A Comedy of Justice is a novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1984. The title is a reference to the biblical Book of Job and James Branch Cabell's book Jurgen, A Comedy of Justice...

, Bryan's unsuccessful or successful runs for the presidency are seen as the "splitting off" events of the alternate histories through which the protagonists travel.

In political cartoons

The sheer volume of political propaganda cartoons featuring Bryan is a testament to the amusement and fear he caused among conservatives. Bryan campaigned tirelessly, championing the ideas of the farmers and workers, using his skills as a famed orator to ultimately reshape the Democratic Party into a more progressive one. These political cartoons attacked just about every facet of Bryan’s character and policy. They mocked his religious fervor, his campaign slogans, and even his ability to unify parties for a common cause. As Keen puts it, "The art of propaganda is to create a portrait that incarnates the idea of what we wish to destroy so we will react rather than think, and automatically focus our free-floating hostility, indistinct frustrations, and unnamed fears". Bryan embodied these fears of the Republican Party of the time, which is clearly evident in the lengths they went to deface his character in these cartoons.

The most notable cartoons are of Bryan illustrated as a snake, representing Populism, swallowing a donkey, symbolizing the Democratic Party. Another notable Bryan cartoon is one where he is standing atop a Bible, marketing the sales of a "crown of thorns" and a "cross of gold" both referencing "The Cross of Gold" his most popular speech. Other cartoons can analyze overall judgments of Bryan’s continuous failure to win the Presidential Election and Bryan can be seen as some sort of puppet or smaller figure in comparison to other presidential elect opponents.

Nicknames

Bryan had an unusually high number of nicknames given to him in his lifetime; most of these were given by his loyal admirers in the Democratic Party. In addition to his best-known nickname, "The Great Commoner", he was also called "The Silver Knight of the West" (due to his support of the free silver
Free Silver
Free Silver was an important United States political policy issue in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Its advocates were in favor of an inflationary monetary policy using the "free coinage of silver" as opposed to the less inflationary Gold Standard; its supporters were called...

 issue) and the "Boy Orator of the Platte" (a reference to his oratorical skills and his home near the Platte River
Platte River
The Platte River is a major river in the state of Nebraska and is about long. Measured to its farthest source via its tributary the North Platte River, it flows for over . The Platte River is a tributary of the Missouri River, which in turn is a tributary of the Mississippi River which flows to...

 in Nebraska). A derisive nickname given by journalist H.L. Mencken, a prominent Bryan critic, was "The Fundamentalist Pope", a reference to Bryan's devout religious views. He is called "Adam-and-Eve" Bryan in "O Russet Witch!, Tales of the Jazz Age" by F. Scott Fitzgerald
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was an American author of novels and short stories, whose works are the paradigm writings of the Jazz Age, a term he coined himself. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. Fitzgerald is considered a member of the "Lost...

.

Legacy

Michael Kazin
Michael Kazin
Michael Kazin is a professor of history at Georgetown University. He is co-editor of Dissent magazine. See his website: http://michaelkazin.com- Early life :...

 considers Bryan the first of the 20th century "celebrity politicians", better known for their personalities and communications skills than their political views. Shannon Jones, on a Socialist website, claims that Bryan never took a principled stand against white supremacy
White supremacy
White supremacy is the belief, and promotion of the belief, that white people are superior to people of other racial backgrounds. The term is sometimes used specifically to describe a political ideology that advocates the social and political dominance by whites.White supremacy, as with racial...

 in the Southern United States
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

. Alan Wolfe
Alan Wolfe
Alan Wolfe is a political scientist and a sociologist and is currently on the faculty of Boston College and serves as director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life...

 has concluded that Bryan's "legacy remains complicated". Form and content mix uneasily in Bryan's politics. The content of his speeches leads in a direct line to the progressive reforms adopted by 20th century Democrats. But the form his actions took was a romantic invocation of the American past, a populist insistence on the wisdom of ordinary folk, and a faith-based insistence on sincerity and character.

In They Also Ran
They Also Ran
They Also Ran is the title of a 1943 book by Irving Stone. Stone, a historian, evaluates several unsuccessful candidates for President of the United States in light of their places in history , and attempts to assess whether or not the American people made the "right" choice in rejecting them for...

, Irving Stone
Irving Stone
Irving Stone was an American writer known for his biographical novels of famous historical personalities, including Lust for Life, a biographical novel about the life of Vincent van Gogh, and The Agony and the Ecstasy, a biographical novel about Michelangelo.-Biography:In...

 criticized Bryan as a person who was egocentric and never admitted wrong. Stone mentioned how Bryan lived a sheltered life and therefore, could not feel the suffering of the common man. He speculated that Bryan merely acted as a champion of common men in order to get their votes. Stone mentioned that none of Bryan's ideas were original and that he did not have the brains to be an effective president. Stone personally believed Bryan to be one of the nation's worst Secretaries of State. He also feared that Bryan would have supported many radical religious blue laws
Blue Laws
The Blue Laws of the Colony of Connecticut, as distinct from the generic term "blue law" that refers to any laws regulating activities on Sunday, were the initial statutes set up by the Gov. Theophilus Eaton with the assistance of the Rev. John Cotton in 1655 for the Colony of New Haven, now part...

. Stone felt that Bryan had one of the most undisciplined minds of the 19th century and that McKinley, Roosevelt, and Taft all made better presidents.

A number of prominent personalities, however, have also defended Bryan and his legacy. In 1962, the journalist Merle Miller
Merle Miller
Merle Miller was an American novelist best known for his biographies of Presidents Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson. Three years before his best-selling book Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography of Harry S...

 interviewed former President Harry Truman. When asked about Bryan, Truman replied that he [Bryan] "was a great one—one of the greatest". Truman also claimed that, in his opinion, "if it wasn't for old Bill Bryan there wouldn't be any liberalism at all in the country now. Bryan kept liberalism alive, he kept it going." In 1900, Truman, then aged 16, had served as a page to the Democratic National Convention
Democratic National Convention
The Democratic National Convention is a series of presidential nominating conventions held every four years since 1832 by the United States Democratic Party. They have been administered by the Democratic National Committee since the 1852 national convention...

 in Kansas City
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

. There he had heard Bryan give a speech to the convention's delegates and was deeply impressed. In his biography of Truman, the historian David McCullough
David McCullough
David Gaub McCullough is an American author, narrator, historian, and lecturer. He is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian award....

 wrote that in 1900 Truman and his father "declared themselves thorough 'Bryan men'... Bryan remained an idol for Harry, as the voice of the common man". Tom L. Johnson
Tom L. Johnson
Thomas Loftin Johnson , better known as Tom L. Johnson, was an American politician of the Democratic Party from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He headed relief efforts after the Johnstown, Pennsylvania floods of 1889, was a U.S. Representative from 1891–1895 and the 35th mayor of...

, the famed progressive mayor of Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Cuyahoga County, the most populous county in the state. The city is located in northeastern Ohio on the southern shore of Lake Erie, approximately west of the Pennsylvania border...

, referred to Bryan's campaign in 1896 as "the first great struggle of the masses in our country against the privileged classes". In a 1934 speech dedicating a memorial to Bryan, President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

 said "I think that we would choose the word 'sincerity' as fitting him [Bryan] most of all...it was that sincerity that served him so well in his life-long fight against sham and privilege and wrong. It was that sincerity which made him a force for good in his own generation and kept alive many of the ancient faiths on which we are building today. We...can well agree that he fought the good fight; that he finished the course; and that he kept the faith."

Bryan was one of the best known speakers of his time, and he became a fixture of the Democratic party and a hero to the common man. Starting with his Cross of Gold speech, Bryan brought the populist party into the Democratic, and with his common man message he would inevitably draw the African-American and feminist vote into the party. Bryan became the bridge that brought different factions into the party, and paved the way for liberal democrats like Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

 with his New Deal
New Deal
The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were Roosevelt's responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call...

 legislation. As noted by Bryan's biographer Michael Kazin
Michael Kazin
Michael Kazin is a professor of history at Georgetown University. He is co-editor of Dissent magazine. See his website: http://michaelkazin.com- Early life :...

,

“Bryan was the first leader of a major party to argue for permanently expanding the power of the federal government to serve the welfare of ordinary Americans from the working and middle classes....he did more than any other man-between the fall of Grover Cleveland and the election of Woodrow Wilson-to transform his party from a bulwark of laissez-faire to the citadel of liberalism we identify with Franklin D. Roosevelt and his ideological descendants.”

Honors

Bryan County, Oklahoma
Bryan County, Oklahoma
Bryan County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The population was 36,534 at the 2000 census. Its county seat is Durant. The county shares the same boundaries as the Durant Micropolitan Area. It is also home to the headquarters of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma located in Durant...

 is named after him.
Bryan Memorial Hospital (now BryanLGH Medical Center) of Lincoln, Nebraska, and Bryan College
Bryan College
Bryan College is a Christian liberal arts college in Dayton, Tennessee. It was founded in the aftermath of the 1925 Scopes Trial to establish an institution of higher education that would teach from a Christian worldview.-History:...

 located in Dayton, Tennessee
Dayton, Tennessee
Dayton is a city in Rhea County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 6,180 at the 2000 census. The Dayton, TN, Urban Cluster, which includes developed areas adjacent to the city and extends south to Graysville, Tennessee, had 9,050 people in 2000...

, are also named for William Jennings Bryan. The William Jennings Bryan House
William Jennings Bryan House
The William Jennings Bryan House, also known as Fairview, is a historic house built in 1902 in Lincoln, Nebraska, United States. It is noteworthy as the home of William Jennings Bryan , and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1963....

 in Nebraska was named a U.S. National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

 in 1963. The Bryan Home Museum is a by-appointment only museum at his birthplace in Salem, Illinois
Salem, Illinois
Salem is a city located in the U.S. state of Illinois. It is the county seat of Marion County. The population was 7,485 at the 2010 census.Salem is the birthplace of William Jennings Bryan and his brother vice presidential candidate Charles W. Bryan, the G. I. Bill of Rights, and Miracle Whip salad...

. Salem is also home to Bryan Park and a large statue of Bryan. Omaha Bryan High School
Omaha Bryan High School
Omaha Bryan High School is a public high school located in Bellevue, Nebraska, United States. It is a part of Omaha Public Schools.-History:The building for William Jennings Bryan Senior High School was completed in 1971. It was named after the Nebraska politician...

 and Bryan Middle School in Bellevue, Nebraska are named for him. He is also honored by having an elementary school in Mission, Texas
Mission, Texas
Mission is a city in Hidalgo County, Texas, United States. The population was 77,058 at the 2010 census Mission is part of the McAllen–Edinburg–Mission and Reynosa–McAllen metropolitan areas.-Geography:Mission is located at ....

 named after him, Bryan Elementary School on a street named after him, Bryan Street.

He has been honored by the United States Postal Service
United States Postal Service
The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States...

 with a $2.00 Great Americans series
Great Americans series
The Great Americans series is a set of definitive stamps issued by the United States Postal Service, starting on December 27, 1980 with the 19¢ stamp depicting Sequoyah, and continuing through 2002, the final stamp being the 78¢ Alice Paul self-adhesive stamp. The series, noted for its simplicity...

 postage stamp
Postage stamp
A postage stamp is a small piece of paper that is purchased and displayed on an item of mail as evidence of payment of postage. Typically, stamps are made from special paper, with a national designation and denomination on the face, and a gum adhesive on the reverse side...

.

See also

  • History of creationism
    History of creationism
    The history of creationism relates to the history of thought based on a premise that the natural universe had a beginning, and came into being supernaturally...

  • Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy
    Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy
    The Fundamentalist–Modernist Controversy was a religious controversy in the 1920s and 30s within the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America that later created divisions in most American Christian denominations as well. The major American denomination was torn by conflict over the...

  • Political interpretations of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
    Political interpretations of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
    Political interpretations of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz include treatments of the modern fairy tale as an allegory or metaphor for the political, economic and social events of America in the 1890s...

  • History of the United States Democratic Party
    History of the United States Democratic Party
    The history of the Democratic Party of the United States is an account of the oldest political party in the United States and arguably the oldest democratic party in the world....

  • Progressive Movement
  • U.S. presidential elections of 1896
    United States presidential election, 1896
    The United States presidential election held on November 3, 1896, saw Republican William McKinley defeat Democrat William Jennings Bryan in a campaign considered by political scientists to be one of the most dramatic and complex in American history....

    , 1900
    United States presidential election, 1900
    The United States presidential election of 1900 was a re-match of the 1896 race between Republican President William McKinley and his Democratic challenger, William Jennings Bryan. The return of economic prosperity and recent victory in the Spanish–American War helped McKinley to score a decisive...

     and 1908
    United States presidential election, 1908
    The United States presidential election of 1908 was held on November 3, 1908. Popular incumbent President Theodore Roosevelt, honoring a promise not to seek a third term, persuaded the Republican Party to nominate William Howard Taft, his close friend and Secretary of War, to become his successor...

    .
  • William Jennings Bryan House
    William Jennings Bryan House
    The William Jennings Bryan House, also known as Fairview, is a historic house built in 1902 in Lincoln, Nebraska, United States. It is noteworthy as the home of William Jennings Bryan , and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1963....


Biographies

  • Cherny, Robert W. A Righteous Cause: The Life of William Jennings Bryan (1994).
  • Coletta; Paolo E. William Jennings Bryan 3 vols. (1964), the most detailed biography. online vol 1; online vol 2; online vol 3
  • Glad, Paul W. The Trumpet Soundeth: William Jennings Bryan and His Democracy 1896–1912 (1966).
  • Hibben; Paxton. The Peerless Leader, William Jennings Bryan (1929).
  • Kazin, Michael. A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan (2006).
  • Koenig, Louis W. Bryan: A Political Biography of William Jennings Bryan (1971).
  • Levine, Lawrence W. Defender of the Faith: William Jennings Bryan, The Last Decade, 1915–1925 (1965).
  • Werner; M. R. Bryan (1929).

Specialized studies

on 1896
  • Bensel, Richard Franklin. Passion and Preferences: William Jennings Bryan and the 1896 Democratic Convention (2008) Analysis of the historiography. Argues that fundamentalists thought they had won Scopes trial but death of Bryan shook their confidence. Puts Scopes in larger religious context. On Bryan's place in Democratic Party history and ideology.

Primary sources

  • Bryan, William Jennings. William Jennings Bryan: selections ed. by Ray Ginger (1967) 259 pages
  • Bryan, William Jennings. The first battle: a story of the campaign of 1896 (1897), 693pp; campaign speeches online edition
  • The Commoner Condensed, annual compilation of The Commoner magazine; full text online for 1901, 1902, 1903, 1907, 1907, 1908
  • Bryan, William Jennings. The old world and its ways (1907) 560 pages full text online
  • Bryan, William Jennings. Speeches of William Jennings Bryan edited by Mary Baird Bryan (1909) full text online
  • Bryan, William Jennings. In His image (1922) 226pp full text online
  • Bryan, William Jennings. The Memoirs: of William Jennings Bryan, by himself and his wife (1925) 560pp; online edition

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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