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William Jennings Bryan (1860 - 1925)

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by bb_baptist, Sep 7, 2001.

  1. bb_baptist

    bb_baptist New Member

    Jun 22, 2000
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    "Are you afraid that we shall lose some votes? O my countrymen, have more faith in the virtue of the people! If there be any here who would seek the support of those who desire to carry us back into bondage to alcohol, let them remember that it is better to have the gratitude of one soul saved from drink than the applause of a drunken world."-From Bryan's speech to the Democratic Convention in 1920 in support of Prohibition.

    The gifted orator William Jennings Bryan was once called "the one American poet who can sing outdoors." Born in Illinois in 1860, Bryan was saved at age 14 in a revival in the Presbyterian church. After finishing law school he moved to Nebraska where his political career began. He was twice elected to the U. S. House of Representatives before becoming the Democrats' nominee for President in 1896. His "cross-of-gold" speech to the convention in Chicago led to the 36-year-old's becoming one of the youngest major party candidates in history. Defeated by William McKinley (51%-47%), he remained active in politics. William Jennings Bryan Page 2 Bryan was nominated for President again in 1900 and 1908. His support was crucial to Woodrow Wilson's getting the nomination in 1912 on the 46th ballot. In return, Wilson named him as Secretary of State, a post which he held from 1913-1915. A good friend of Billy Sunday, Bryan worked for the cause of Prohibition from within the government. Even while Secretary of State, he refused to serve alcoholic beverages at state dinners. One startled Russian diplomat later confided it was the first time in years that he had tasted water! After his retirement from active political life, Bryan continued his career as a public speaker and Bible teacher. He crossed the country preaching, giving what were known as "Bryan Bible Talks" in defense of a literal, inerrant Bible and against evolution; his "talks" were also syndicated in newspapers across the country. Bryan's lecture "Is the Bible True?" was printed and distributed across the country and furnished the impetus for the passage of Tennessee's Butler Act which prohibited teaching evolution in public schools. When the state prosecuted John Scopes for violating the Butler Act, Bryan served as a prosecuting attorney. Revisionist history has painted Bryan as the loser in the "Monkey Trial," but Scopes was convicted by the jury. The heat and stress of the trial aggravated Bryan's already weak physical condition, and just five days after the trial ended, William Jennings Bryan died. He is buried in the national cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. (Source: Sword of the Lord)