Memphis, TN Speech, 1896-10-05

Speech by William Jennings Bryan.

Speech by William Jennings Bryan
Monday, October 5, 1896 at 10:30am
Overton Tract, Memphis, TN

Source: SILVER’S HOLIDAY., Memphis Banks and Stores Close in Honor of Mr. Bryan, Omaha World-Herald (Morning Edition), Tuesday, October 6, 1896

"In Memphis, it was something more than a year ago that this fight which is being waged now was begun. That is, it was the gold standard met to begin the work of capturing the two great political parties, and it was here, a few days afterwards, that the silver forces gathered to begin the organization of their campaign. (Cheers.) I say to you here, my friends, that my interest in the cause of bimetallism is so deep that I would without a moment's hesitation resign my nomination in favor of any person in this country who can better carry this cause to victory. (Cheers.)

It is not a time to listen to personal ambitions. It is not a time to set personal interests above the general good; it is not a time when we are to consider the temporary effect of this election upon party organizations. It is a time when we are to consider the effect of the gold standard if perpetuated among party organizations, not on this country alone, but on all mankind.

My friends, I want to impress upon your minds another thing. It is not only necessary that we shall elect a president and a president in favor of free coinage, but it is necessary that there shall be a congress in favor of free coinage. If you are in earnest in your desire for bimetallism, you must show that earnestness by doing everything necessary to be done to elect congress, senate and president.

If we are right in the position we have taken, if the Democratic party is right in its platform, then the man who does not stand upon that platform is no Democrat. I could not fee the interest that I do in this campaign if all I had to commend was party regularity. (Applause.) I appeal to you on a higher ground than that. I have a stronger claim upon your support than can be given by regularity of a convention. I stand by the right of the American people to have a financial system of their own (great applause). And therefore my candidacy appeals to every American citizen who believes in the right of the people of this country to govern themselves regardless of the aid or consent of any other nation on earth. (Cheers.)

I am not appealing to any sentiment hostile to foreigners, but I say to you, my friends, that the nation does not deserve to be called a nation which has to accept a financial policy ready-made from some other country."

About this Document

  • Source: Omaha World-Herald (Morning Edition)
  • Source: Omaha World-Herald (Morning Edition)
  • Published: Omaha, NE
  • Published: Omaha, NE
  • Citation: 7, 7
  • Date: October 5, 1896