In an unprecedented move, William Jennings Bryan chose to use the new railroad system to travel during his 1896 campaign for the presidency. Through this strategy, Bryan was able to personally give speeches before thousands of people in hundreds of cities and towns during his seven month campaign.
In 1894 William Jennings Bryan campaigned in Nebraska for a seat in the United States Senate. A former Congressman and the editor of the Omaha World Herald, Bryan was a young and rising force in the Democratic Party. In this campaign against Republican John M. Thurston, the general counsel for the Union Pacific Railroad, Bryan attracted Populist support. The debates in Omaha and Lincoln attracted tens of thousands. The Republicans won the state legislature and elected Thurston to the Senate, but the campaign gave Bryan a national reputation and was Bryan's only statewide campaign before his nomination as the Democratic candidate for President in 1896.
In 1896 as the Democratic Party presidential candidate, Bryan took four major railroad trips, giving stump speeches at nearly every stop on the line. He travelled through the following states, and his speeches have been collected here from newspapers, accounts, papers, and memoirs.
Includes a TokenX language analysis of frequently used words in Bryan's speeches and will soon include a GIS map displaying his railroad campaign route.
Podcast from "The Making of Modern America" with William G. Thomas (MPEG-3 audio format).