Youngstown, OH Speech 1, 1896-10-20

Speech by William Jennings Bryan.

Speech by William Jennings Bryan
Tuesday, October 20, 1896
Central Square, Youngstown, OH

Source: FINISHES WITH OHIO, Candidate Bryan Completes His Tour of the Home State of His Opponent., Omaha World-Herald (Morning Edition), Wednesday, October 21, 1896; The Evening News, Wednesday, October 21, 1896

"In Toledo, in this state, in 1891, he (the Republican candidate) denounced the administration of Mr. Cleveland on the grounds that Mr. Cleveland had tried to degrade silver to lessen the currency, to make money more dear by making it scarce, to make money the master, and all things else the servant."


"My friends, I repeat today what Mr. McKinley said five years ago. I repeat today what was true then, and I denounce the policy today while he has turned about and is supporting the financial policy of Grover Cleveland. (Cheers.) If Mr. Cleveland was wrong then, then Mr. McKinley is wrong today. If Mr. Cleveland was right in 1891, then we are right today in standing by our position.

My friends, I do not mean to say that a man has not the right to change his mind. I believe that a man ought to change his mind when he finds that he has been wrong, but I believe that when a man changes his mind he ought to be able to give reasons for the change. You tell me that men who were for bimetallism a few years ago are against it now. Yes, my friends, that is true, but there is not one of them who was for bimetallism a few years ago and has changed, who has ever been willing to give the public the reasons for his change and carry the public along the course which led him to his conversion. People point to that distinguished statesman, John G. Carlisle, and they tell us htat Mr. Carlisle has been converted since 1878."


"Senator Morgan has said that there are two kinds of conversion, there was the conversion of Paul of Tarsus who started out to persecute the Christians and afterwards became an apostle. There was the case of Aaron, who also started out as a worshipper of the true God and afterwards set up a golden calf. (Cheers.) The difference between these two conversions was that Paul was always glad to tell of his conversion and how he was converted, but Aaron always was ashamed of the calf business. (Cheers.)

...The Democratic Party in this campaign stands for the financial policy which had the support of all great men of the nation, and of the parties, until 1878. I desire to call attention to the words of a distinguished Republican—not a western man, because it might be said that he lived too far west to understand finance. I want to quote from Thurlow Weed. You will find the language which I quote on page 535 of the second volume of the Life of Thurlow Weed. Here is what Mr. Weed said:

'We are stigmatized as silver inflationists for asking the government to reestablish a financial basis under which the country's people were prosperous and happy for more than 80 years. This question, stripped of sophistry and verbiage, presents a naked issue of capital against labor; shylocks, over-rapacious are struggling to "keep up the rate of usuance." In maintaining one standard—thus narrowing our specie basis one-half, they strengthen and perpetuate these advantages. There has been as there ever must be, between the thousands who labor, and the hundreds who enjoy the fruit of such labor, as "irrepressible conflict." But it is the duty of governments to see that the faces of those who labor are not held too closely to the grindstone.'"

About this Document

  • Source: Omaha World-Herald (Morning Edition)
  • Source: Omaha World-Herald (Morning Edition)
  • Published: Omaha, NE
  • Published: Omaha, NE
  • Citation: 1, 1
  • Date: October 20, 1896