Canton, OH Speech, 1896-08-10

Speech by William Jennings Bryan.

Speech by William Jennings Bryan
Monday, August 10
Depot, Canton, OH

Source: The First Battle: A Story of the Campaign of 1896, 1896

"Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen: When I received notice a short time ago of the organization of a silver club in this city, I little imagined the tremendous sentiment which seems to be behind the club. I am glad to meet the people of this city, the home of my distinguished opponent, and am glad in their presence to testify to his high character and great personal worth. I shall be satisfied if as an individual I may be able to stand beside him in public esteem. But, my friends, this is not a contest between individuals. It matters little to the American people whether your distinguished townsman or myself occupies the chief executive position in this, the greatest nation upon earth, but it does matter a great deal for what policies the President shall stand. In this campaign the personality of the candidates is lost sight of entirely in the principles for which the candidates stand.

In my own State and in my own city there are many people who believe that the interests of the country will be better served by the election of my opponent, and I am gratified to know that in his home there are so many who believe that the interests of the country will be best served by his defeat. He is your neighbor, as we ordinarily use the word, but I beg you to turn to the Scriptures and there read the parable of the neighbor, for while I may not be your neighbor, geographically speaking, I may be your neighbor in the sense in which the word is used in the parable. In this contest I hope to be the neighbor of those who have fallen among thieves. He is a neighbor who, in the hour of distress, brings relief. At this time, when we are cursed by an European financial policy which our opponents tell us we must endure unti relief comes to us from abroad, I believe that that man is the neighbor of all the toiling masses who asks for the immediate restoration of the 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. I tell my neighbors at home that I shall bear them no ill will if they believe that my opponent should be elected, and I have so high an opinion of my opponent that I know he will say to his townsmen here that every one should be free to make his ballot represent a freeman's will, although it may result in keeping your distinguished citizen among you as a neighbor still."

About this Document

  • Source: The First Battle: A Story of the Campaign of 1896
  • Author: William Jennings Bryan
  • Publisher: W.B. Conkey Company
  • Published: Chicago, Illinois
  • Citation: 305
  • Date: August 10, 1896