St. Louis, MO Speech 1, 1896-09-12

Speech by William Jennings Bryan.

Speech by William Jennings Bryan
Saturday, September 12, 1896 at 8:00pm
Concordia Park, St. Louis, MO

Source: BRYAN WARMLY WELCOMED, St. Louis Gives Him a Most Cordial and Enthusiastic Reception., Omaha World-Herald (Sunday Edition), Sunday, September 13, 1896

"There are some who believe that the maintenance of the gold standard until foreign nations come to our relief is an absolute necessity for the welfare of this country. There are those on the other hand who believe that the immediate restoration of free and unlimited coinage of gold and silver at the present legal ratio of 16 to 1, without waiting for the aid or consent of any other nation, is absolutely essential to national prosperity." (Cheers and cries of "Good.")


"This is the great question which must be submitted to the ballot and, in order that you may understand this question, I desire to submit a few arguments tonight in behalf of the restoration of free coinage. I assume in the first place that every American citizen is competent to form an opinion upon this issue. In the first place the Republican party in its platform and through its public men is making an effort to supply the people of the United States with money enough to do business. (Applause.) If I were to tell you that a grown person could wear the clothes of a child you would think me foolish. If I were to tell you a grown person could live on food sufficient to sustain life in a child, you would call me foolish, and yet they call these men financiers who assume that a people growing in population can survive on a money decrease in its mints. (Cheers.) I want you to remember now the figures which I am going to read to you. These figures are taken from a government publication issued on July 1, 1896."


"Now, give me your attention, my friends. In this publication, issued by the treasury department on July 1, 1896, I find a statement of the amount of money of all kinds in circulation among the people for the various years. Let me call your attention to the amount here for the years 1894, 1895 and 1896. In 1894 the amount of money in circulation, according to this report, was $1,660,000,000. In 1895 that amount of money had fallen to $1,601,000,000a decrease in one year of $59,000,000. On June 30, 1896, the amount in circulation had fallen to $1,506,000,000. It means that in two years' time, according to the treasury reports, the amount of money in circulation among the people had fallen about $155,000,000 in amount. In other words, in two years' time there has been a decrease of about or nearly 10 per cent in the amount of money in circulation among the people. This, my friends, is the treasury report, and this report shows that while the per capita circulation in 1894 was $24.28 per capita, in 1896 it had fallen to $21.10, a fall of more than $3 per capita. (Cheers.) Now, I have called your attention to this decrease shown by the treasury report. Let me show you, my friends, that instead of being a decrease there should have been an increase each year."


"Senator Sherman made a speech on the 5th of July, 189, and in the course of that speech he said that we needed an increase in the currency of something like $50,000,000 every year, and yet instead of an increase of $50,000,000 per annum for the last two years we have a decrease of $155,000,000, making a deficit of about $225,000,000 in the currency of the country. Now if Senator Sherman was right in 1890 in saying that the people needed new money every year, then I want to ask you why it is that the Republican party has in the face of a decrease in the circulating money made o provisions to supply the needs of an increasing population. When we speak about these matters our opponents tell us that we do not understand mathematics, but a man does not have to understand much about mathematics to know that a nation that requires an increased circulation must know that it demands an increase of purchase of silver bullion. Not only does the Republican party make no provision for the increase of the currency of the needs of the people, but the Republican party has been silent with regard to the manner in which this circulation has been contracted. If is the Republican party succeeds, we have every reason to believe the Republican party [[illegible]] set the example set by the previous [[illegible]] and go on contracting the circulation instead of increasing it." (Applause.)

About this Document

  • Source: Omaha World-Herald (Sunday Edition)
  • Published: Omaha, NE
  • Citation: 6
  • Date: September 12, 1896