Stuart, IA Speech, 1896-08-07

Speech by William Jennings Bryan.

Speech by William Jennings Bryan
Friday, August 7, 1896 at 8:20pm
Depot, Stuart, IA

Source: ACROSS THE STATE., Story of the Four-Minute Stops at Small Cities, Omaha World-Herald (Morning Edition), Saturday, August 8, 1896

"Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen: It is a good omen when the people upon whom rest the responsibilities of government by such gatherings as these, express the interest which they feel in the campaign. There is no other country where the people are so free, or where the government derives its just powers so directly from the consent of the governed, and our people have never in any emergency failed to prove themselves equal to the occasion."


"I am an optimist. I believe not only in the capacity of the people for self government, but that they will rise equal to all emergencies. In the American people, regardless of party, there is a patriotism which is never appealed to in vain. (Applause.) Whether it be peace or war, when duty calls, the people respond and they respond in such a way as to leave no question as to their love of country and their love of mankind. (Applause.)

In my judgment, no campaign has come before the people of this country in time of peace since our national history begun when so much depended upon the struggle. I beg you, as you love your country, to study these questions. It is not for me to tell you how to vote. I would be insulting the intelligence of the people if I attempted to do so. But I am only doing my duty when I beg you, first, each for yourselves, to find where your duty lies and then to do your duty like citizens who appreciate the responsibilities of government. (Cheers.)

Parties are but instruments, and when people say that they owe something to a party, let them remember that parties owe higher duties to the people than the people can owe to parties, and that when any party arrays itself against the interests of the great people of this country, that it forfeits the confidence and is undeserving of the support of any man, no matter to what party he belongs." (Great cheering.)


"But I must stop, for I will make a speech. (Cries of "Go on.") There is a paramount issue in this campaign. I care not whether you believe in free silver or oppose it, you must agree with me that the money question right now rises up and overshadows all other questions. We cannot postpone the settlement of this question. When we have to decide whether it is necessary for this government to employ foreign or domestic syndicates to take care of our affairs, we must settle that question at once or place a mortgage upon posterity. (Great cheering.)

Now, my friends, all I ask you to do, is to study. They talk about the silver craze dying out. They have been burying the silver question every year now for twenty years (cheers) and it is more alive today than it was ever before. (Applause.) Why is it they can't bury it? Why is it that they may call it any name they please and yet it rises and torments them all the time? Why is it?

It is because this silver question is based upon the great principles of justice, and you can't settle any question until you settle it right. We ask you to settle it by settling it right and that we believe is by restoring the gold and silver standard of the constitution." (Cheers.)

About this Document

  • Source: Omaha World-Herald (Morning Edition)
  • Published: Omaha, NE
  • Citation: 6
  • Date: August 7, 1896