Lincoln, NE Speech, 1896-07-17

Speech by William Jennings Bryan.

Speech by William Jennings Bryan
Friday, July 17, 1896 at 7:00pm
Capitol Balcony, Lincoln, NE

Source: AT THE STATE HOUSE, Twenty Thousand People Listen to Bryan's Remarks., Omaha World-Herald (Morning Edition), Saturday, July 18, 1896; The First Battle: A Story of the Campaign of 1896, 1896


"I am proud tonight to be able to say of those who are assembled here: These are our neighbors. (Applause.) I beg to express to Republicans, Democrats, Populists, Prohibitionists—to all of all parties—the gratitude which we feel for this magnificent demonstration. I say we, because she who has shared my struggles deserves her full share of all the honors that may come to me. (Applause.)

This scene tonight recalls the day, nine years ago this month, when, by accident, rather than design, I first set root within the limits of the city of Lincoln. I remember the day because I fell in love with the city, and then resolved to make it my future home. (Cheering.) I came among you as a stranger in a strange land, and no people have ever treated a stranger more kindly than you have treated me. I desire to express tonight our grateful appreciation of all the kindness that you have shown us, and to give you the assurance that if, by the suffrages of my countrymen, I am called to occupy, for a short space of time, the most honorable place in the gift of the people, I shall return to you. (Applause.) This shall be my home, and when earthly honors have passed away, I shall mingle my ashes with the dust of our beloved State. (Applause.) This is no political gathering. I see here the faces of those who do not stand with me on the issues of the day; but I am glad that love can leap across party lines and bind in holy friendship those whose judgments dwell apart."


"I thank the Mayor of this city for the charity which he has shown today. I thank those of all parties who are willing for a moment to forget political differences and join in celebrating the fact that at last a Presidential nomination has crossed the Missouri river. (Great cheering, and loud and long applause.) We were glad that the Prohibition party came to our city for its candidate, and if the great Republican party which for so many years has dominated in the councils of the nation had selected a Nebraska man for the head of the ticket, I should have led you in honoring him regardless of what his opinions might have been.

I am glad that the other states of this nation, east and south and west, will have their attention turned toward this great prairie state and toward this capital city. I believe, my friends, that when our fellow citizens in other sections of this land shall become acquainted with the people of this state that they will pay all honor to us, and it will be a tie to bind us all in common love of the greatest nation on God's footstool today. (Applause.) And now, until I can see each one of you personally and express my thanks by the pressure of the hand or by voice, permit me to bid you all on behalf of my wife and myself good night." (Long and continued applause.)

About this Document

  • Source: Omaha World-Herald (Morning Edition)
  • Source: Omaha World-Herald (Morning Edition)
  • Published: Omaha, NE
  • Published: Omaha, NE
  • Citation: 2, 2
  • Date: July 17, 1896