PEOPLE THAT BUILT OUR NATION – WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN

Posted: May 14, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

 

 

America has been nothing less than blessed with the great magnitude of leadership that it possessed.  Much of this leadership migrated to America and it was this pioneer spirit that led to leaders that built America.  On the other side of the leadership development scale, the country, America, allowed a person to expand and develop the leadership required to build a nation.  Only a country allowing innovation and entrepreneurial spirit to flourish will leadership be developed from within the ranks of the common man.

 

One leader that helped to develop our nation and change the pattern of how political candidates run their races was William Jennings Bryan.  Not only was he a man dedicated to the common man and was known for his oratory ability but while teaching high school he was involved in actions that would have possibly led to jail time today.  

 

Bryan was born in Salem, Illinois in 1860.  Politics was in his blood as his father was elected to the Illinois state Senate and later to a state circuit judgeship.  Religion played a major part in Bryant’s background and he stated that his baptism at the age of 14 was the single most important day of his life.  He was home schooled until the age of 10 and was drilled that gambling and alcohol were evil and sinful.

 

He attended a high school academy and following graduation attended law school.  While in law school he also taught high school.  It was at that time that he found the love of his life, a high school student of his.  Today this is unheard of but things were different in the 1890s and they married and she went on to receive her law degree so that she could provide support to her husband. The say that behind every great man is a great woman and this is no exception.  Bryant’s wife never practiced law but she was not only with her husband in all of his endeavors but she also helped him write and edit his speeches.

 

The Bryants moved to Nebraska and he was elected to the US House of Representatives at the age of 30 and became the second Democrat elected to Washington from Nebraska.  In 1896 at the age of 36 Bryant became the youngest person to run for the presidency of the United States.  He was famous for his oratory ability, number of speeches he would give and for being the first candidate to campaign from a car.

 

Following his defeat he did endorse his winning opponents decision to go to war against Spain to free Cuba.  His own party was surprised at his decision and showed he held closer allegiance to the country than to a party.  He had stated, “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 again was the Democratic selection for president in 1900 and he would make four hour-long speeches every day.  In Wisconsin he made 12 speeches in 15 hours.   During this election the Republicans spent ten time the amount as Bryant’s democratic party.  Bryant was feared by several of America’s industrial giants and Carnegie, Rockefeller and Morgan found it necessary to raise the money to defeat him due to his anti-monopoly beliefs.

 

He lost again for the third and last time in 1908.  He had gone on a worldwide speaking tour and had providing American ideals to am imperialistic world.  Prior to World War II he was the Secretary of State and resigned after the sinking of the Lusitania.  By 1925 he was supporting the development of Coral Gables, Florida while making speaking engagements for an estimated $100,000 a year.  With all this success in his later years his religion remained strong and he continued to promote prohibition and fought the teachings of evolution.

 

In 1925 he helped with the prosecution during what has become to be called the Scopes Monkey Trial.  Bryant took the stand and was examined by world famous Clarence Darrow, an early member of the ACLU.  Bryant’s side won the case and he left on a multiple speaking tour on his way home.  Five days later he arrived at home, went to church, ate a large dinner, laid down and peacefully died.

 

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