William Jennings Bryan

William Jennings Bryan
William Jennings Bryan
  • Born: March 19, 1860
  • Died: July 26, 1925
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Lawyer

94

Quotes

69

Citations

269

Concepts

0

Videos

William Jennings Bryan was an American orator and politician from Nebraska. Beginning in 1896, he emerged as a dominant force in the Democratic Party, standing three times as the party's nominee for President of the United States. He also served in the United States House of Representatives and as the United States Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson. Just before his death he gained national attention for attacking the teaching of evolution in the Scopes Trial. Because of his faith in the wisdom of the common people, he was often called "The Great Commoner".

Quotes About
Author Quote
Anonymous Boy Orator of the Platte The Black Eagle of Nebraska The Silver Knight of the West The Great Commoner
Anonymous In God We Trust—With Bryan We Bust
Andrew Carnegie Mr. [William Jennings] Bryan is much too earnest, much too sincere and true to be entrusted with power, filled as he is with ideas subversive of economic laws.
James B. Clark William Judas Bryan.
David Bennett Hill I am a Democrat still—very still.
William McKinley McKinley drinks soda water, Bryan drinks rum; McKinley is a gentleman, Bryan is a Bum.
William McKinley I might as well put up a trapeze on my front lawn and compete with some professional athlete, as go out speaking against Bryan.
William McKinley William Jennings Bryan is a much better orator than I am. I have to think.
H. L. Mencken ... a charlatan, a mountebank, a zany without sense or dignity.
H. L. Mencken [Characterizing William Jennings Bryan:] ... a tinpot Pope in the Coca-Cola belt.
H. L. Mencken A somewhat greasy bald-headed man with his mouth open.... What animated him from end to end of his grotesque career was simply ambition—the ambition of a common man to get his hand upon the collar of his superiors, or, failing that, to get his thumb into their eyes.
Henry Cabot Lodge [William Jennings Bryan] thinks that to say something is to do something, which is an imperfect view of administration.
H. L. Mencken He leads a new crusade, his bald head glistening... One somehow pities him, despite his so palpable imbecilities... But let no one, laughing at him, underestimate the magic that lies in his black, malignant eye, his frayed but still eloquent voice. He can shake and inflame these poor ignoramuses as no other man among us...
H. L. Mencken [William Jennings Bryan was] a poor clod, a peasant come home to the barnyard, motivated solely by the ambition of a common man to get his hand upon the collar of his superiors, or, failing that, to get his thumb into their eyes.
John Hay … half-baked, glib, little briefless jackleg lawyer … begging for the Presidency, as a tramp might beg for a pie.
Theodore Roosevelt … representatives of those forces which simmer beneath the surface of every civilized community and if they could break out, would destroy not only property and civilization but finally even themselves. .
William Howard Taft The Republican approach would compel the trusts to conduct their business in a lawful manner while [William Jennings] Bryan and the Democrats would destroy the entire business in order to stamp out the evils which they have practiced.
Theodore Roosevelt Do not answer [William Jennings] Bryan. Attack him!
Anonymous The Great Commoner.
Anonymous Pope of the peasants.
Quotes
Quote Topics Cited
… a system under which a few supposedly superior intellects, self-appointed, would direct the mating and the movements of the mass of mankind. Families, Children & Parenting
… the struggling masses Miscellaneous
A dollar approaches honesty as its purchasing power approaches stability. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
A man can be born again ... If this be true of one, it can be true of any number. Thus, a nation can be born in a day if the ideals of the people can be changed. States. Nations & Nationhood
A man cannot demand a salary for saying what his employers do not want said. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
A man who murders another shortens by a few brief years the life of a human being; but he who votes to increase the burden of debts upon the people of the United States assumes a graver responsibility. Budgets & Budgeting
A National [political] Convention is not the best place in the world to decide questions of abstract justice. The temptation to gain an unfair advantage is so great that it is not always resisted. Political Parties & Machines
America is a republic gradually and surely becoming the supreme moral factor in the world’s progress and the accepted arbiter of the World’s disputes. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
America should be ... a republic in which every citizen is a sovereign, but in which no one cares or dares to wear a crown. States. Nations & Nationhood
An orator is a man who says what he thinks and feels what he says. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
An orator is a man who says what he thinks and feels what he says. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
Big contributions from those who are seeking government favors are a menace to honest government. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.
Can you let me know what positions you have at your disposal with which to reward deserving Democrats? Patronage & Pork Barrel
Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. Expansionism, Colonialism & Imperialism
God made all men, and he did not make some to crawl on hands and knees and others to ride upon their backs. Equality & Equal Opportunity
How many lives have been lost by men who believe God had commanded them to do so? Religion & God
I am glad to have the public know that I appreciated services of those who work in politics and feel an interest in seeing them rewarded. Patronage & Pork Barrel
I don't know anything about free silver, [but] the people of Nebraska are for free silver and I am for free silver. I will look up the arguments later. Voters, Voting & Elections
I got all the applause, but McKinley got the votes. Voters, Voting & Elections
I have even shaken hands with Mr. [William Randolph] Hearst. A man who is in politics is required to shake hands with almost everybody without requiring a certificate of character. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
I insist that the commandment, "Thou shalt not steal," applies as much to the monopolist as to the highwayman. Business, Commerce & Finance
I will put rings in the noses of these hogs. Regulation & Deregulation ;Capitalism
If the commanders of German vessels of war should act upon the presumption that the flag of the United States was not being used in good faith and should destroy on the high seas an American vessel or the lives of American citizens, it would be difficult for the Government of the United States to view the act in any other light than as an indefensible violation of neutral rights, which it would be very hard, indeed, to reconcile with the friendly relations now happily subsisting between the two Governments. If such a deplorable situation should arise, the Imperial German Government can readily appreciate that the Government of the United States would be constrained to hold the Imperial Government of Germany to a strict accountability for such acts of their naval authorities, and to take any steps it might be necessary to take to safeguard American lives and property and to secure to American citizens the full enjoyment of their acknowledged rights on the high seas. Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
If we steal a man’s purse we are thieves. If we steal twelve hundred islands, we are patriots. If you steal a man’s money, you will be sent to the penitentiary. If you steal his liberty, you will be sent to the White House. Expansionism, Colonialism & Imperialism
In war, science has proven itself an evil genius; it has made war more terrible than it ever was before. Man used to be content to slaughter his fellow men on a single plane---the earth's surface. Science has taught him to go down into the water and shoot up from below and to go up into the clouds and shoot down from above, thus making the battlefield three times a bloody as it was before War & Peace
In war, science has proven itself an evil genius; it has made war more terrible than it ever was before. Man used to be content to slaughter his fellowmen on a single plane — the earth's surface. Science has taught him to go down into the water and shoot up from below and to go up into the clouds and shoot down from above, thus making the battlefield three times a bloody as it was before; but science does not teach brotherly love. Science has made war so hellish that civilization was about to commit suicide; and now we are told that newly discovered instruments of destruction will make the cruelties of the late war seem trivial in comparison with the cruelties of wars that may come in the future. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
It is a poor head that cannot find plausible reason for doing what the heart wants to do. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
My plan cannot fail if the people are with us and we ought not succeed unless we do have the people with us. Public Opinion & Polling
No man can make a million dollars honestly. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest ;Capitalism
No man could earn a million dollars honestly. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
No one ever made a million dollars honestly. Money, Coins & Minting
No teacher should be allowed on the faculty of any American university unless he is a Christian. Religion & God
Of all the instrumentalities which have been conceived by the mind of man for transferring the bread which one man earns to another man who does not earn it, I believe the gold standard is the greatest. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
On the one side stand the corporate interests of the United States, the moneyed interests, aggregated wealth and capital, imperious, arrogant, compassionless.... On the other side an unnumbered throng, those who gave the Democratic party a name and for whom it has assumed to speak. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Our definition of patriotism is often too narrow. Shall the lover of his country measure his loyalty only by his service as a soldier? No! Patriotism calls for the faithful and conscientious performance of all of the duties of citizenship, in small matters as well as great, at home as well as upon the tented field Nationalism & Treason ;Citizenship & Patriotism
Pure-food laws have become necessary to keep manufacturers from poisoning their customers; child labor laws have become necessary to keep employers from dwarfing the bodies, minds and souls of children; anti-trust laws have become necessary to keep overgrown corporations from strangling smaller competitors, and we are still in a death struggle with profiteers and gamblers in farm products. Regulation & Deregulation
Science is a magnificent force, but it is not a teacher of morals. It can perfect machinery, but it adds no moral restraints to protect society from the misuse of the machine. It can also build gigantic intellectual ships, but it constructs no moral rudders for the control of storm tossed human vessel. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Science is a magnificent force, but it is not a teacher of morals. It can perfect machinery, but it adds no moral restraints to protect society from the misuse of the machine. It can also build gigantic intellectual ships, but it constructs no moral rudders for the control of storm tossed human vessel. It not only fails to supply the spiritual element needed but some of its unproven hypotheses rob the ship of its compass and thus endangers its cargo. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Should the people rule? Slogans & Mottoes
Some people think I'm a terrible radical, but really I'm not so very dangerous at all. Detriments & Qualifications ;Public Office: Benefits
The Bible states it. It must be so. Religion & God
The brute theory [evolution] has paralyzed the influence of many of our preachers and undermined the faith of many of our young people in college. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
The chief duty of governments, in so far as they are coercive, is to restrain those who would interfere with the inalienable rights of the individual. Freedom & Liberty
The Commoner Miscellaneous
The extremes of society are being driven further and further apart. Liberals & Conservatives
The government being the people’s business, it necessarily follows that its operations should be at all times open to public view. Secrecy & Transparency
The great cities rest upon our broad and fertile prairies.
The great political questions are in their final analysis great moral questions. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
The humblest citizen in all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error. Citizenship & Patriotism
The humblest citizen of all the land, when clad in the armour of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of Error. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
The money power preys upon the Nation in times of peace and conspires against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces as public enemies, all who question its methods, or throw light upon its crimes. Business, Commerce & Finance
The only part of evolution in which any considerable interest is felt is evolution applied to man. A hypothesis in regard to the rocks and plant life does not affect the philosophy upon which one's life is built. Evolution applied to fish, birds and beasts would not materially affect man's view of his own responsibilities except as the acceptance of an unsupported hypothesis as to these would be used to support a similar hypothesis as to man. The evolution that is harmful—distinctly so—is the evolution that destroys man's family tree as taught by the Bible and makes him a descendant of the lower forms of life. This ... is a very vital matter. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
The poor man who takes property by force is called a thief, but the creditor who can by legislation make a debtor pay a dollar twice as large as he borrowed is lauded as the friend of a sound currency. The man who wants the people to destroy the Government is an anarchist, but the man who wants the Government to destroy the people is a patriot. Business, Commerce & Finance
The President knows that if this country needed a million men, and needed them in a day, the call would go out at sunrise and the sun would go down on a million men in arms. Defense & National Security
The principles upon which democracy rests are as everlasting as the hills, but they must be applied to new conditions as they arise. Democracies & Republics
The taxpayers have a right to say what shall be taught ... to direct or dismiss those whom they employ as teachers and school authorities .... The hand that writes the paycheck rules the school. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that if you will only legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea, however, has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous, their prosperity will find its way up through every class which rests upon them. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
This nation is able to legislate for its own people on every question, without waiting for the aid or consent of any other nation on earth. Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
to supplement the local government in protecting his property when he enters into a contest with his employees. Labor Unions, Labor Relations & Strikes
We all leave unfinished work; we cannot complete it; those who come after us take it up and conform it to their will Leaders & Leadership
We can exterminate Ku Kluxism better by recognizing their honesty and teaching them that they are wrong. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
We have submitted the issues to the American people, and their word is law. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
When a Republican tells me that God’s hand is in his, demand to see his credentials. Liberals & Conservatives
When a Republican tells me that God’s hand is in his, I demand his credentials. Liberals & Conservatives
When you come before us and tell us that we are to disturb your business interests, we reply that you have disturbed our business interests by your course. We say to you that you have made the definition of the business man too limited in its application. The man who is employed for wages is as much a business man as his employer. Bureaucracy
Why be shocked at the drowning of a few if there is no objection to starving a nation? Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
Why, these men would destroy the Bible on evidence that would not convict a habitual criminal of a misdemeanor. They found a tooth in a sand pit in Nebraska with no other bones about it, and from that one tooth decided that it was the remains of the missing link. Religion & God
You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
All the ills from which America suffers can be traced to the teaching of evolution.
Anglo-Saxon civilization has taught the individual to protect his own rights; American civilization will teach him to respect the rights of others. Respect
Behold a republic standing erect while empires all around are bowed beneath the weight of their own armaments - a republic whose flag is loved while other flags are only feared.
Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved. Future
Do not compute the totality of your poultry population until all the manifestations of incubation have been entirely completed.
Eloquent speech is not from lip to ear, but rather from heart to heart.
Evolution seems to close the heart to some of the plainest spiritual truths while it opens the mind to the wildest guesses advanced in the name of science. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I hope the two wings of the Democratic Party may flap together. Hope
If that vital spark that we find in a grain of wheat can pass unchanged through countless deaths and resurrections, will the spirit of man be unable to pass from this body to another?
If the Bible had said that Jonah swallowed the whale, I would believe it.
If we have to give up either religion or education, we should give up education. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Religion & God
My place in history will depend on what I can do for the people and not on what the people can do for me. History
Never be afraid to stand with the minority when the minority is right, for the minority which is right will one day be the majority.
No one can earn a million dollars honestly.
None so little enjoy themselves, and are such burdens to themselves, as those who have nothing to do. Only the active have the true relish of life. Life
One miracle is just as easy to believe as another.
The humblest citizen of all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error.
The Imperial German Government will not expect the Government of the United States to omit any word or any act necessary to the performance of its sacred duty of maintaining the rights of the United States and its citizens and of safeguarding their free exercise and enjoyment. Government
The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. Truth
The parents have a right to say that no teacher paid by their money shall rob their children of faith in God and send them back to their homes skeptical, or infidels, or agnostics, or atheists. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Religion & God ;Money, Coins & Minting
The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear and get a record of successful experiences behind you.
There can be no settlement of a great cause without discussion, and people will not discuss a cause until their attention is drawn to it.
There is no more reason to believe that man descended from some inferior animal than there is to believe that a stately mansion has descended from a small cottage.
This is not a contest between persons. The humblest citizen in all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error. I come to you in defense of a cause as holy as the cause of liberty - the cause of humanity.
Two people in a conversation amount to four people talking. The four are what one person says, what he really wanted to say, what his listener heard, and what he thought he heard.