Parkersburg, WV Speech, 1896-10-01

Speech by William Jennings Bryan.

Speech by William Jennings Bryan
Thursday, October 1, 1896 at 11:45am
Stephens’ Grove, Parkersburg, WV

Source: VAST CROWDS CHE[ER], Swarms of Humanity Pack t[he] Streets of Wheeling to Greet the Great Leader., Omaha World-Herald (Morning Edition), Friday, October 2, 1896

Let me state two or three propositions for you to consider in the discussion of the money question. The value of the dollar may be increased by legislation. If you want money dear you can make it dear by making it scarce. If you want money to keep pace with property, if you want average prices to be maintained, you can maintain them only by increasing the amount of money as rapidly as the demand for money increases. There are those who do not want more money brought into the country, and if they have control of legislation they so legislate as not to create a large amount of money. They want less money, because money owners profit by a rising dollar.

Suppose a man has $100,000 invested in 4 per cent bonds, running for thirty years, and draws a thousand dollars every three months. Now, if the value of the dollar rises, if the value of the dollar doubles, it means that thereafter when he receives his $1,000 every quarter he can buy two times as much with that thousand dollars as he could before. It is virtually doubling the interest he receives. It is virtually doubling the value of the bold which he holds.

Are you surprised that a man may be unable to understand how there is any suffering in the country? Why, you say to him, 'times are hard.' 'Oh, no,' he says, 'times are not hard; times were never better; I never knew times to be better than they are now; why, I am getting along better than I ever did before in my life.' You can understand why those people are indifferent to the welfare of others, because they cannot appreciate the suffering of others; I have so much faith in the better nature of some people that I believe that many who now oppose bimetallism do it in absolute ignorance of the misery which their conduct is causing. (Great cheering.) And yet I do not understand now, in the midst of a great struggle like this, our opponents can keep themselves ignorant of so great a subject and continue blind to the results of a gold standard." (Cheers.)

About this Document

  • Source: Omaha World-Herald (Morning Edition)
  • Published: Omaha, NE
  • Citation: 2
  • Date: October 1, 1896