William Jennings Bryan (March 19, 1860 - July 26, 1925) was an
American orator and politician, and a dominant force in the populist
wing of the Democratic Party, standing three times as the Party's
candidate for President of the United States (1896, 1900 and 1908). He
served two terms as a member of the United States House of
Representatives from Nebraska and was United States Secretary of State
under President Woodrow Wilson (1913–1915), resigning because of his
pacifist position on World War I. Bryan was a devout Presbyterian, a
strong advocate of popular democracy, and an enemy of the banks and
their gold standard. He demanded "Free Silver" because it reduced
power attributed to money and put more money in the hands of the
people. He was a peace advocate, a supporter of Prohibition, and an
opponent of Darwinism on religious and humanitarian 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 wisdom
of the common people, he was called "The Great Commoner."
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A man unwilling to bear his share of the burden of the government
is unworthy to enjoy its blessings.
And who can suffer injury by just taxation, impartial laws and the
application of the Jeffersonian doctrine of equal rights to all and
special privileges to none? Only those whose accumulations are stained
with dishonesty and whose immoral methods have given them a distorted
view of business, society and government. Accumulating by conscious
frauds more money than they can use upon themselves, wisely distribute
or safely leave to their children, these denounce as public enemies
all who question their methods or throw a light upon their crimes.
Appearance too often takes the place of reality- the stamp of the
coin is there, and the glitter of the gold, but, after all, it is but
a worthless wash.
Behold a republic standing erect while empires all around are bowed
beneath the weight of their own armaments- a republic whose flag is
loved while other flags are only feared.
Character is the entity, the individuality of the person, shining
from every window of the soul, either as a beam of purity, or as a
clouded ray that betrays the impurity within.
Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is
not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved.
Eloquent speech is not from lip to ear, but rather from heart to
If we delight in gossip, and are not content unless each neighbor
is laid upon the dissecting table, we form a character unenviable
indeed, and must be willing to bear the contempt of all the truly
good, while we roll our bit of scandal as a sweet morsel under the
In this, our land, we are called upon to give but little in return
for the advantages which we receive. Shall we give that little
Never be afraid to stand with the minority when the minority is
right, for the minority which is right will one day be the
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
No one can earn a million dollars honestly.
None so little enjoy themselves, and are such burdens to
themselves, as those who have nothing to do. Only the active have the
true relish of life.
Our definition of patriotism is often too narrow. Shall the lover
of his country measure his loyalty only by his service as a
Patriotism calls for the faithful and conscientious performance of
all of the duties of citizenship, in small matters as well as great,
at home as well as upon the tented field.
Plutocracy is abhorrent to a republic; it is more despotic than
monarchy, more heartless than aristocracy, more selfish than
bureaucracy. It preys upon the nation in time of peace and conspires
against it in the hour of its calamity.
Sham is carried into every department of life, and we are being
corrupted by show and surface. We are too apt to judge people by what
they have, rather than by what they are; we have too few Hamlets who
are bold enough to proclaim, 'I know not seem!'
Success is brought by continued labor and continued watchfulness.
We must struggle on, not for one moment hesitate, nor take one
The humblest citizen in all the land, when clad in the armor of a
righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error.
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
The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear and
get a record of successful experiences behind you.
There are those who believe that, if you will only legislate to
make the well-to-do prosperous, their prosperity will leak through on
those below. The Democratic idea, however, has been that if you
legislate to make the masses prosperous, their prosperity will find
its way up through every class which rests up on them.
Two people in a conversation amount to four people talking. The
four are what one person says, what he really wanted to say, what his
listener heard, and what he thought he heard.
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.
(July 26 is also the birthday of
Stanley Kubrick, and
Quotes of the day;
William Jennings Bryan
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