St. Louis, MO Speech 2, 1896-09-12

Speech by William Jennings Bryan.

Speech by William Jennings Bryan
Saturday, September 12, 1896 at 8:45pm
Auditorium, 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

"[[Illegible]] Republican party has declared [[illegible]] favor of a gold standard and its ora- [[illegible]] have gone before the people [[illegible]] advocated the gold standard as a [[illegible]]. To have done so they would have had to close their ears to the cry of distress which comes up everywhere. But they did not declare for a gold standard. Why? Because those who favored a gold standard never fought an open fight in their lives. Gold is a coward. It will not meet its enemies in an open fight and those who advocate a gold standard have never been willing to face their enemies before the American people. Let me give you evidence, and evidence of the fact that our opponents are not willing to take the American people into their confidence and declare before the American people the policy which they desire."


"This night recalls my last visit to this hall less than three months ago. I attended a national convention held in this hall. I saw here adopted the first platform ever adopted by a national convention in all the history of the United States which declared that the United Sates must depend upon foreign nations for permission to do what our people desired to do.

I saw adopted in this hall a platform which pledged the Republican party to get rid of a gold standard and substitute bimetallism as soon as the leading nation of Europe would help us to do so. Before an audience that did not equal this I saw this platform made, and I am delighted that an greater in size gathered, not from all the union, but from a single locality, has met in this same hall to pronounce condemnation upon the platform.

My friends, in a country like ours agitation is the only means by which people can secure relief. And if these men had their way about it they would make it a penal offense for a man to raise his voice against the financial system, which they would fasten on the American people. (Applause.)

I repeat that when these men who tell you that everything would be all right if you would just have a correct settlement of the money question then don't tell you what that correct settlement is, they either don't know what that correct settlement is or if they know they are not willing to tell us." (Applause.)


"You will find some of these banking institutionsóI don't say all of themóbecause there are in the banking business men who will respect the constitution and the laws of the United States, but I say some of these banking institutions tell a man they will not lend money to him or extend his notes until he votes as they ask him to do. Yes, and why do they do it? It is because there are banking establishments in London who tell the New York banking firms that if they don't run the United States on the European plan they will not extend credit to them. (Tremendous cheers.)

I wonder if those who are assembled here understand what is going on under the financial policy which has cursed this country for the last twenty years? Let me tell you some things. They have presented Great Britain's treasury notes for redemption, and instead of government exercising the right to redeem these greenbacks or treasury notes in either gold or silver the administration, the present administration and the administration of several years past, has surrendered that right to the hands of the holder of the note, and under that right the treasury of the United States has proved helpless in the hands of those who, pretending to uphold the nation's credit, have plunged the nation to fill their own pockets with the peace money."

About this Document

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