A Righteous Cause: The Life of William Jennings Bryan by Robert W. Cherny

By Robert W. Cherny

Thrice the Democratic Party’s nominee for president (1896, 1900, and 1908), and Secretary of kingdom below Woodrow Wilson, William Jennings Bryan voiced the troubles of many american citizens disregarded of the post-Civil battle monetary development. during this publication, Robert W. Cherny lines Bryan’s significant political crusades for a brand new foreign money coverage, prohibition, and women’s suffrage, and opposed to colonialism, monopolies, America’s access into international battle I, and the educating of evolution within the public faculties. Drawing on Bryan’s writings and correspondence, Cherny provides Bryan’s key function within the Democratic Party’s transformation from a proponent of minimum govt to an recommend of energetic executive.

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Progressive Crusades 108 VII. Crusades for Peace 134 VIII. The Final Battle: Crusade against Evolution 157 IX. Evaluating a Crusader 183 A Note on the Sources 205 Index 215 Page 1 I Youth of a Crusader In 1887, the first day of October had a double significance for twenty-seven-year old William Jennings Bryan. Three years before, he and Mary Baird had pronounced their wedding vows. Now, on his third wedding anniversary, the tall, black-haired lawyer stepped down from a train in Lincoln, Nebraska, the city he and Mary had chosen as their future home.

On the Republican side stood William McKinley, a political veteran from Ohio who led a well-heeled and smoothly functioning organization. The Democrat was William Jennings Bryan, a political neophyte from Nebraska who tried to make up for what he lacked in funds and organization through grueling travel and impassioned speechmaking. The central issue they debatedthe gold standard versus a bimetallic currencyis now nearly as obscure as the Ostend Manifesto or the presidency of Millard Fillmore. One argument that Bryan presented in 1896, however, has resonated through the nation's politics from then to our own day: There are two ideas of government.

The average home held nearly six people, usually related by kinship; a number included a boarder or a live-in servant. Frequently in face-to-face contact at church functions, lodge meetings, and in stores and shops, people could keep few secrets. The community knew who regularly attended Sunday school and church, and knew as well who regularly patronized saloons. " His father Silas served both as circuit court judge and as deacon of the Baptist church. Willy's mother, Page 5 Mariah, came from the Jennings family, one of the oldest in the county, and she took an active part in the Methodist church for many years before joining her husband's denomination.

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