134 Facts About William Jennings Bryan


William Jennings Bryan was an American lawyer, orator and politician.


William Jennings Bryan served in the House of Representatives from 1891 to 1895 and as the Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson.


William Jennings Bryan won election to the US House of Representatives in the 1890 elections, served two terms, and made an unsuccessful run for the US Senate in 1894.


At the 1896 Democratic National Convention, William Jennings Bryan delivered his "Cross of Gold" speech which attacked the gold standard and the eastern moneyed interests and crusaded for inflationary policies built around the expanded coinage of silver coins.


Subsequently, William Jennings Bryan was nominated for president by the left-wing Populist Party, and many Populists would eventually follow William Jennings Bryan into the Democratic Party.


At age 36, William Jennings Bryan remains the youngest person in United States history to receive an electoral vote for president.


William Jennings Bryan gained fame as an orator, as he invented the national stumping tour when he reached an audience of 5 million people in 27 states in 1896.


William Jennings Bryan retained control of the Democratic Party and again won the presidential nomination in 1900.


William Jennings Bryan regained his stature in the party after Parker's resounding defeat by Theodore Roosevelt and voters from both parties increasingly embraced some of the progressive reforms that had long been championed by William Jennings Bryan.


William Jennings Bryan opposed Darwinism on religious and humanitarian grounds, most famously in the 1925 Scopes Trial, dying soon after.


William Jennings Bryan has elicited mixed reactions from various commentators, but is acknowledged by historians as one of the most influential figures of the Progressive Era.


William Jennings Bryan was born in Salem, Illinois, on March 19,1860, to Silas Lillard Bryan and Mariah Elizabeth Bryan.


Silas William Jennings Bryan had been born in 1822 and had established a legal practice in Salem in 1851.


William Jennings Bryan married Mariah, a former student of his at McKendree College, in 1852.


William Jennings Bryan won election as a state circuit judge and in 1866 moved his family to a 520-acre farm north of Salem.


William Jennings Bryan lived in a ten-room house that was the envy of Marion County.


William Jennings Bryan was the fourth child of Silas and Mariah, but all three of his older siblings died during infancy.


William Jennings Bryan had five younger siblings, four of whom lived to adulthood.


William Jennings Bryan was home-schooled by his mother until the age of ten.


Silas was a Baptist and Mariah was a Methodist, but William Jennings Bryan's parents allowed him to choose his own church.


William Jennings Bryan said that it was the most important day of his life.


William Jennings Bryan continued to hone his public speaking skills, taking part in numerous debates and oratorical contests.


William Jennings Bryan graduated from Illinois College in 1881 at the top of his class.


In 1879, while still in college, William Jennings Bryan met Mary Elizabeth Baird, the daughter of an owner of a nearby general store, and began courting her.


William Jennings Bryan then studied law in Chicago at Union Law College.


William Jennings Bryan graduated from law school in 1883 with a Bachelor of Laws and returned to Jacksonville to take a position with a local law firm.


William Jennings Bryan established a successful legal practice in Lincoln with partner Adolphus Talbot, a Republican whom William Jennings Bryan had known in law school.


William Jennings Bryan entered local politics by campaigning for Democrats like Julius Sterling Morton and Grover Cleveland.


William Jennings Bryan called for a reduction in tariff rates, the coinage of silver at a ratio equal to that of gold and action to stem the power of trusts.


William Jennings Bryan's victory made him only the second Democrat who ever represented Nebraska in Congress.


William Jennings Bryan quickly earned a reputation as a talented orator and set out to gain a strong understanding of the key economic issues of the day.


William Jennings Bryan became affiliated with the latter group and advocated for the free coinage of silver and the establishment of a progressive federal income tax.


That endeared him to many reformers, but William Jennings Bryan's call for free silver cost him the support of Morton and some other conservative Nebraska Democrats.


William Jennings Bryan won re-election by just 140 votes, and Cleveland defeated Weaver and incumbent Republican President Benjamin Harrison in the 1892 presidential election.


William Jennings Bryan mounted a campaign to save the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, but a coalition of Republicans and Democrats successfully repealed it.


William Jennings Bryan was successful in passing an amendment that provided for the establishment of the first peacetime federal income tax.


Rather than running for re-election in 1894, William Jennings Bryan sought election to the United States Senate.


William Jennings Bryan became the editor-in-chief of the Omaha World-Herald although most editorial duties were performed by Richard Lee Metcalfe and Gilbert Hitchcock.


William Jennings Bryan hoped to offer himself as a presidential candidate, but his youth and relative inexperience gave him a lower profile than veteran Democrats like Bland, Governor Horace Boies of Iowa, and Vice President Adlai Stevenson.


The free silver forces quickly established dominance over the convention, and William Jennings Bryan helped draft a party platform that repudiated Cleveland, attacked the conservative rulings of the Supreme Court, and called the gold standard "not only un-American but anti-American".


William Jennings Bryan's speech was met with rapturous applause and a celebration on the floor of the convention that lasted for over half an hour.


William Jennings Bryan finished in a distant second on the convention's first ballot, but his Cross of Gold speech had left a strong impression on many delegates.


William Jennings Bryan gained the lead on the fourth ballot and won his party's presidential nomination on the fifth ballot.


At the age of 36, William Jennings Bryan became and still remains the youngest presidential nominee of a major party in American history.


William Jennings Bryan invented the national stumping tour, reaching an audience of 5 million in 27 states.


William Jennings Bryan was building a coalition of the white South, poor northern farmers and industrial workers and silver miners against banks and railroads and the "money power".


William Jennings Bryan swept the South and Mountain states and the wheat growing regions of the Midwest.


William Jennings Bryan remained popular in the Democratic Party and his supporters took control of party organizations throughout the country, but he initially resisted shifting his political focus from free silver.


At Governor Silas A Holcomb's request, Bryan recruited a 2000-man regiment for the Nebraska National Guard and the soldiers of the regiment elected Bryan as their leader.


William Jennings Bryan's regiment remained in Florida for months after the end of the war, which prevented William Jennings Bryan from taking an active role in the 1898 midterm elections.


William Jennings Bryan resigned his commission and left Florida in December 1898 after the United States and Spain had signed the Treaty of Paris.


William Jennings Bryan had supported the war to gain Cuba's independence, but he was outraged that the Treaty of Paris granted the United States control over the Philippines.


Many Republicans believed that the United States had an obligation to "civilize" the Philippines, but William Jennings Bryan strongly opposed what he saw as American imperialism.


William Jennings Bryan wanted to quickly bring an official end to the war and then to grant independence to the Philippines as soon as possible.


The 1900 Democratic National Convention met in Kansas City, Missouri, where some Democratic leaders opposed to William Jennings Bryan had hoped to nominate Admiral George Dewey for president.


Nevertheless, William Jennings Bryan faced no significant opposition by the time of the convention and he won his party's nomination unanimously.


William Jennings Bryan did not attend the convention but exercised control of the convention's proceedings via telegraph.


William Jennings Bryan faced a decision regarding which issue his campaign would focus on.


Many of his most fervent supporters wanted William Jennings Bryan to continue his crusade for free silver, and Democrats from the Northeast advised William Jennings Bryan to center his campaign on the growing power of trusts.


William Jennings Bryan decided that his campaign would focus on anti-imperialism, partly to unite the factions of the party and win over some Republicans.


William Jennings Bryan strongly criticized the US annexation of the Philippines and compared it to the British rule of the Thirteen Colonies.


William Jennings Bryan argued that the United States should refrain from imperialism and should seek to become the "supreme moral factor in the world's progress and the accepted arbiter of the world's disputes".


William Jennings Bryan's anti-imperialism failed to register with many voters and as the campaign neared its end, William Jennings Bryan increasingly shifted to attacks on corporate power.


William Jennings Bryan sought the voter of urban laborers by telling them to vote against the business interests that had "condemn[ed] the boys of this country to perpetual clerkship".


The Republican platform of victory in war and a strong economy proved to be more important to voters than William Jennings Bryan's questioning the morality of annexing the Philippines.


In January 1901, William Jennings Bryan published the first issue of his weekly newspaper, The Commoner, which echoed his favorite political and religious themes.


Roosevelt prosecuted antitrust cases and implemented other progressive policies, but William Jennings Bryan argued that Roosevelt did not fully embrace progressive causes.


William Jennings Bryan called for a package of reforms, including a federal income tax, pure food and drug laws, a ban on corporate financing of campaigns, a constitutional amendment providing for the direct election of senators, local ownership of utilities, and the state adoption of the initiative and the referendum, and provisions for old age.


William Jennings Bryan criticized Roosevelt's foreign policy and attacked Roosevelt's decision to invite Booker T Washington to dine at the White House in 1901.


William Jennings Bryan's motivation was not any belief that Cockrell could defeat Roosevelt in the election, but rather that he would lose decisively, thus paving the way for William Jennings Bryan to be re-nominated in 1908.


William Jennings Bryan traveled to Europe in 1903, meeting with figures such as Leo Tolstoy, who shared some of William Jennings Bryan's religious and political views.


William Jennings Bryan funded the trip with public speaking fees and a travelogue that was published on a weekly basis.


William Jennings Bryan was greeted by a large crowd upon his return to the United States in 1906 and was widely seen as the likely 1908 Democratic presidential nominee.


However, William Jennings Bryan continued to favor more far-reaching reforms, including federal regulation of banks and securities, protections for union organizers and federal spending on highway construction and education.


William Jennings Bryan briefly expressed support for the state and federal ownership of railroads in a manner similar to Germany but backed down from that policy in the face of an intra-party backlash.


Meanwhile, William Jennings Bryan re-established his control over the Democratic Party and won the endorsement of numerous local and state organizations.


William Jennings Bryan was nominated for president on the first ballot of the 1908 Democratic National Convention.


William Jennings Bryan was joined by John W Kern, a former state senator from the swing state of Indiana.


William Jennings Bryan campaigned on a party platform that reflected his long-held beliefs, but the Republican platform advocated for progressive policies, which left relatively few major differences between the two major parties.


One issue that the two parties differed on concerned deposit insurance, as William Jennings Bryan favored requiring national banks to provide deposit insurance.


William Jennings Bryan largely unified the leaders of his own party and his pro-labor policies won him the first presidential endorsement ever issued by the American Federation of Labor.


William Jennings Bryan won just a handful of states outside of the Solid South, as he failed to galvanize the support of urban laborers.


William Jennings Bryan remains the only individual since the Civil War to lose three separate US presidential elections as a major party nominee.


William Jennings Bryan remained an influential figure in Democratic politics, and after Democrats took control of the House of Representatives in the 1910 midterm elections, he appeared in the House of Representatives to argue for tariff reduction.


In 1909, William Jennings Bryan came out publicly for the first time in favor of Prohibition.


William Jennings Bryan crusaded as well for legislation to support the introduction of the initiative and referendum as a means of giving voters a direct voice while he made a whistle-stop campaign tour of Arkansas in 1910.


William Jennings Bryan did not seek the Democratic presidential nomination; his continuing influence gave him a major voice in choosing the nominee.


William Jennings Bryan was intent on preventing the conservatives in the party from nominating their candidate, as they had done in 1904.


Wilson had criticized William Jennings Bryan but had compiled a strong progressive record as governor.


William Jennings Bryan's speech marked the start of a long shift away from Clark: Wilson would finally clinch the presidential nomination after over 40 ballots.


William Jennings Bryan campaigned throughout the West for Wilson and offered advice to the Democratic nominee on various issues.


William Jennings Bryan took charge of a State Department that employed 150 officials in Washington and an additional 400 employees in embassies abroad.


William Jennings Bryan proved particularly influential in ensuring that the president, rather than private bankers, was empowered to appoint the members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.


Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan pursued a series of bilateral treaties that required both signatories to submit all disputes to an investigative tribunal.


William Jennings Bryan quickly won approval from the president and the Senate to proceed with his initiative.


For much of 1914, William Jennings Bryan attempted to bring a negotiated end to the war, but the leaders of both the Entente and the Central Powers were ultimately uninterested in American mediation.


William Jennings Bryan remained firmly committed to neutrality, but Wilson and others within the administration became increasingly sympathetic to the Entente.


William Jennings Bryan argued that the British blockade of Germany was as offensive as the German U-boat Campaign.


William Jennings Bryan maintained 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".


William Jennings Bryan served as a campaign surrogate for Wilson by delivering dozens of speeches, primarily to audiences west of the Mississippi River.


Some Prohibitionists and other William Jennings Bryan supporters tried to convince the three-time presidential candidate to enter the 1920 presidential election, and a Literary Digest poll taken in mid-1920 ranked William Jennings Bryan as the fourth-most popular potential Democratic candidate.


William Jennings Bryan attended the 1920 Democratic National Convention as a delegate from Nebraska but was disappointed by the nomination of Governor James M Cox, who had not supported ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment.


William Jennings Bryan declined the presidential nomination of the Prohibition Party and refused to campaign for Cox, which made the 1920 campaign the first presidential contest in over thirty years in which he did not actively campaign.


William Jennings Bryan helped defeat a resolution condemning the Ku Klux Klan because he expected that the organization would soon fold.


William Jennings Bryan strongly opposed the candidacy of Al Smith due to Smith's hostility towards Prohibition.


William Jennings Bryan was disappointed by the nomination of Davis but strongly approved of the nomination of his brother and he delivered numerous campaign speeches in support of the Democratic ticket.


William Jennings Bryan served as a member of the Board of Trustees at American University in Washington, DC, from 1914 to his death.


William Jennings Bryan held a weekly Bible class in Miami and published several religiously-themed books.


William Jennings Bryan was one of the first individuals to preach religious faith on the radio, which let him reach audiences across the country.


William Jennings Bryan welcomed the proliferation of faiths other than Protestant Christianity, but he was deeply concerned by the rejection of Biblical literalism by many Protestants.


Bradley J Longfield posits Bryan was a "theologically conservative Social Gospeler".


William Jennings Bryan had long expressed skepticism and concern regarding Darwin's theory; in his famous 1909 Chautauqua lecture, "The Prince of Peace", William Jennings Bryan had warned that the theory of evolution could undermine the foundations of morality.


William Jennings Bryan opposed Darwin's theory of evolution through natural selection for two reasons.


William Jennings Bryan believed what he considered a materialistic account of the descent of man through evolution to be directly contrary to the Biblical creation account.


William Jennings Bryan requested that lawmakers refrain from attaching a criminal penalty to the anti-evolution laws and urged that educators be allowed to teach evolution as a "hypothesis", rather than as a fact.


Only five southern states responded to William Jennings Bryan's call to bar the teaching of evolution in public schools.


William Jennings Bryan was worried that the theory of evolution was gaining ground not only in the universities, but within the church.


William Jennings Bryan failed in gaining approval for a proposal to cut off funds to schools in which the theory of evolution was taught.


From July 10 to 21,1925, William Jennings Bryan participated in the highly-publicized Scopes Trial.


William Jennings Bryan's defense was funded by the American Civil Liberties Union and led in court by the famed lawyer Clarence Darrow.


William Jennings Bryan defended the right of parents to choose what schools teach, argued that Darwinism was merely a "hypothesis", and claimed that Darrow and other intellectuals were trying to invalidate "every moral standard that the Bible gives us".


William Jennings Bryan had been prevented from delivering a final argument at trial, but he arranged for the publication of the speech he had intended to give.


In that publication, William Jennings Bryan wrote that "science is a magnificent material force, but it is not a teacher of morals".


On Sunday, July 26,1925, William Jennings Bryan died in his sleep from apoplexy after he had attended a church service in Dayton.


William Jennings Bryan remained married to his wife, Mary, until his death in 1925.


William Jennings Bryan was buried next to Bryan after her death in 1930.


William Jennings Bryan elicited mixed views during his lifetime and his legacy remains complicated.


Jeff Taylor rejects the view that William Jennings Bryan was a "pioneer of the welfare state" and a "forerunner of the New Deal", but argues that William Jennings Bryan was more accepting of an interventionist federal government than his Democratic predecessors had been.


Historian Robert D Johnston notes that Bryan was "arguably [the] most influential politician from the Great Plains".


William Jennings Bryan's career has been compared to that of Donald Trump.


The William Jennings Bryan Home Museum is an appointment-only museum at his birthplace in Salem, Illinois.


President Franklin D Roosevelt delivered an address on May 3,1934, dedicating a statue of William Jennings Bryan created by Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor of Mount Rushmore.


William Jennings Bryan was named to the Nebraska Hall of Fame in 1971 and a bust of him resides in the Nebraska State Capitol.


William Jennings Bryan was honored by the United States Postal Service with a $2 Great Americans series postage stamp.