Hammond, IN Speech, 1896-10-07

Speech by William Jennings Bryan.

Speech by William Jennings Bryan
Wednesday, October 7, 1896 at 8:30pm
Open Lot, Hammond, IN

Source: NO PLEA FOR VOTE, Mr. Bryan Says He Asks but Calm Judgment of Each on His Cause, Omaha World-Herald (Morning Edition), Thursday, October 8, 1896

"I understand that some empl[[illegible]] I don't know whether they hav[[illegible]] it here, but I have known men [[illegible]] elsewhere, have tried to convince [[illegible]] employees that under free coinage [[illegible]] pay would only be worth half [[illegible]] of what they get now." (Cries '[[illegible]] it here.')

WILL DOUBLE WAGES, [[illegible]]

"I want to call your attention [[illegible]] thing, if under free coinage [[illegible]] dollars will only buy half as much, that means that your employers would get twice as much for what they produce, twice as many dollars as they do now, and if your employers get twice as many dollars as they do now, then they can pay twice as many dollars for their wages as they do now, if they love you as well after election as they seem to love you now when they want your votes. (Applause and laughter.)

Now, my friends, just remember this: Whenever your employer tells you that under free coinage your wages will only be worth half as much, you tell him that you are not afraid he will ever let you suffer, because he loves you so much now. If he tells you that while he can pay you double, that he won't do it, you tell him that a man that can help you and won't do it ought to tell you that he will before the election." (Great applause.)

PROPER KIND OF SI[[illegible]]

"But, my friends, instead of resorting to argument, some of the employers have resorted to coercion. (Applause and cries of "That's so.") That is, they have attempted to make their employees think as they want them to think. I saw a sign down in Nashville, Tennessee, and I wish you would remember this sign, stretched over the door of a store containing these words:

'If our employees don't vote as they please we will discharge them.'

My friends, that is the right kind of a sign to have, instead of saying that if their employees do not vote as the managers want they will discharge them; these employers ought to put up the sign that they had in Tennessee, that if you do not vote as you please then you will be discharged. (Applause.)

My friends, I recognize that in this campaign we have great influences against us. I recognize that our opponents are able to collect enormous campaign funds. I recognize that they are able to carry great excursions to their candidate. But, my friends, I believe that when I come to the people themselves instead of having them sent to me I can present our cause and appeal to the hearts of the American people." (Applause and cheering.)


"I believe that our cause is just and that the people of this country cannot be corrupted by a large campaign fund; neither can they be intimidated by their employers.

Our hope of victory lies, not in a corruption fund, or employment of [[illegible]] but an honest appeal to the unpurchased and unpurchasable voters of the United States. (Cheers.) I am aware, my friends, that they may threaten to take your privileges from you; I am aware that in order to hold your position you may, some of you, be compelled to march in Republican clubs and wear Republican buttons, but remember [[illegible]] laboring men of this country have secured the Australian system [[illegible]] tyranny stands outside while the voter goes inside. My friends, I have not come to ask the vote of any man; I have not come to tell you how you shall cast your vote; I have come to present our cause. The policies for which we stand mean peace and prosperity and joy to the great mass of the people of this country. (Cheering.) And if you [[illegible]] I ask you to record your vote w[[illegible]]. If your conscience and your judgment are against us we have no claim [[illegible]] your aid, but I beg you to study the question and make your vote mean exactly what you think your vote ought to mean."

About this Document

  • Source: Omaha World-Herald (Morning Edition)
  • Published: Omaha, NE
  • Citation: 1
  • Date: October 7, 1896