William Jennings Bryan and the Railroad

1896 Campaign




1896 Railroad Campaign

This archive contains information concerning each of the 746 speeches William Jennings Bryan delivered during the four trips of his 1896 presidential campaign. It notes the city, state, and delivery site of every speech, as well as the railroad line the candidate traveled on to reach that location. The archive also features the approximate delivery time of many speeches and a size estimate of the listening audience. In addition, the project contains more than two hundred excerpts and full-text transcriptions of speeches he delivered during the 1896 campaign.

The text of Bryan's speeches and the contextualizing information found on the site comes from several sources, including his personal account of the campaign, The First Battle: A Story of the Campaign of 1896 (Chicago: W.B. Conkey Company, 1896), and newspaper accounts, including those printed in the Lincoln Evening News and Omaha World-Herald.

The reporters who listened to William Jennings Bryan's speeches in 1896 lacked the ability to record his voice, so they relied on shorthand to reproduce his words. In rare instances, reporters had access to advance copies of Bryan's speeches, but in most cases he spoke extemporaneously. Thus, the wording of each speech can vary, depending on the source. In some instances, this project relies on several sources knitted together to ensure an accurate representation of a particular speech. To reproduce, as accurately as possible, each address in the form delivered by Bryan during his 1896 presidential campaign, some speeches feature a combination of two or more sources. These sources are listed in the bibliography. To avoid confusion by the reader, the various sources employed are not noted individually in the text. All speeches have been edited for typographical errors, but the content has not been altered. If further accuracy is required, each portion of a speech can be dissected by consulting the sources listed in the bibliography.

Trip 1         Trip 2         Trip 3         Trip 4

© Nathan Sanderson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2008