Bloomington, IL Speech, 1896-10-27

Speech by William Jennings Bryan.

Speech by William Jennings Bryan
Tuesday, October 27, 1896
Depot, Bloomington, IL

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

"Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen: While it is pleasant to greet the people in any part of this nation, I find a special gratification in being permitted to speak to the people of Bloomington, because this is the home of the vice-president of the greatest nation on God's footstool. We, who have been keepers of the Democratic faith, love Adlai Stevenson, not only for what he is, but we love him also because he is all we have left of the last National Democratic ticket.

The Bible tells you of the father who loved the prodigal son when he returned. I tell you of the Democratic father who loves the son who went not astray. How we shall feel toward the prodigal son if he comes back I cannot say, but, my friends, I know how we feel toward the son who has stayed at home instead of going out to feed the hogs of the enemy.

If you have any doubt as to the Democracy of our position on the money question, I want you to read what the Republican candidate for the Presidency said yesterday. He said in a speech from the front porch:

'Every dollar representing one hundred cents and good not only among our own people, but wherever trade goes, in every mart and market place of the world. It was made by the Republican party; but, let me say, while it was made by the Republican Party, the administration of Grover Cleveland has maintained it.'

There he tells you that Grover Cleveland has simply carried out the policy of the Republican party and inferentially tells you that in case of Republican success the Republican party for four years will carry out the policy of Grover Cleveland.

This administration has issued $262,000,000 in bonds to maintain the gold standard for three years, and Mr. McKinley praises Mr. Cleveland for having maintained the gold standard. When Mr. McKinley says that Mr. Cleveland has maintained Republican doctrine and praises Mr. Cleveland, you have reason to believe that if Mr. McKinley is elected he will go on issuing bonds for the benefit of the bondholders and taxing the people to pay for them.

My friends, these are strange times. You will not find in our political history another instance where a president has been thrown overboard by his own party only to be caught up and idolized by the opposing party. Yet that is what you find today. The only people who are commending the financial policy of Grover Cleveland are the men who are trying to elect a Republican President to continue that policy for four years more. Are you surprised when you find that the policy inaugurated at St. Louis and reiterated by the Republican candidate, is driving out of the Republican party those who still believe in a government of the people, by the people and for the people?

I have been introduced this morning to Republicans who until this year voted the Republican ticket, but who this year are joining with us to restore the money of the Constitution. I am proud of the kind of men who are coming to us."

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: 577-578
  • Date: October 27, 1896