Nashville, TN Speech 1, 1896-10-05

Speech by William Jennings Bryan.

Speech by William Jennings Bryan
Monday, October 5, 1896 at 8:45pm
Haymarket Square, Nashville, TN

Source: BRYAN IN DIXIE LAND, Welcome Remarkable, Even for the Southerners, Is Tendered the Candidate., Omaha World-Herald (Morning Edition), Tuesday, October 6, 1896

"Ladies and gentlemen: It was my good fortune to visit Nashville more than a year ago, when we were beginning the flight which resulted in securing the control of the Democratic National Convention."


"I remember with pleasure my visit and it gratifies me much upon returning to find the sentiment in favor of the immediate restoration of the free coinage of silver, at the present legal ratio of 16 to 1, without waiting for the aid or consent of any nation on earth, has expanded until today a vast majority of the people of Tennessee are arrayed under the double standard banner. I beg to thank the young men who have opened this meeting with our campaign song, our battle hymn. It might be called, for in this fight for the defense of homes, in this land of the humble home as well as the palatial home, we might take as our battle hymn that most beautiful of all songs, 'Home, Sweet Home.' (Cheers.)

Our warfare is in one sense aggressive; in another sense it is defensive. It is aggressive in the sense that we are asking for remedial legislation. It is aggressive in the sense that we are insisting that something shall be done, and it is defensive in the sense that we are fighting for our homes and our people from the invasion of a foreign financial policy. (Cheers.)

As I passed through the streets tonight and listened to the exclamations of a people, I could easy believe that I was in a city so near to that sacred spot, the Hermitage. (Cheers.) I can understand why the people of this state feel so deep an interest in the cause which is being represented by the Chicago platform, because, my friends, we are fighting today the battle that Andrew Jackson fought when he was in office." (Great Cheers.)


"We find arrayed against us the same combinations, the same aggregation of wealth, the same abuse against him: we meet the same intolerance that he met; we suffer from the abuse that he suffered from: every name that is applied today to the advocates of free coinage, was applied to Old Hickory when he fought for the American people.

In declaring in favor of bimetallism we are standing upon ancient ground. The free coinage of silver is no experiment. It is endorsed by the history of the human race. It has the sanction of all the great statesmen of this nation from the beginning of our constitutional history down to 1873. No person will assert that the American people abandoned bimetallism after a full and complete discussion. If you read the records of that time you find that the newspapers which are so quick to grasp upon any item of news and so ready to spread it before the public did not understand and explain that the law of 1873 demonetized silver, closed the mints to the coinage and left us with gold only as our standard money. Ever since that day we have been seeking to undo what was done in the dark.

My friends, we have lost some democrats in this fight, but I am mighty glad that mos tof those whom we lost were generals. We have not lost many privates in the army. (Applause.) We might have kept all the Democrats who are gone if we had been willing to pay the price they asked."


"If we had been willing to make the Democratic party the gent to fasten plutocracy upon the American people we could have kept every man who has left us. But we have to choose between throwing overboard those who have been millstones about the neck of Democracy and throwing overboard Democracy itself, and we prefer to save Democracy and let the aristocrats go. (Great cheers.)

My friends, we have not lost by it. It has been our gain. It is always true that those who dare to do right are rewarded in the long run and the Democratic party is receiving its reward—not even waiting for the long run—it is receiving its reward right now, for daring to do right at Chicago. (Cheers.) We are drawing into our ranks those who were in the Republican party for bimetallism. They have come to us because they see now that the hope of international bimetallism is a delusion and that it is used only as a cover while the leading Republicans are attempting to fasten the gold standard permanently."

About this Document

  • Source: Omaha World-Herald (Morning Edition)
  • Published: Omaha, NE
  • Citation: 1
  • Date: October 5, 1896