A Righteous Cause: The Life of William Jennings Bryan by Robert W. Cherny

By Robert W. Cherny

3 times the Democratic Party’s nominee for president (1896, 1900, and 1908), and Secretary of country below Woodrow Wilson, William Jennings Bryan voiced the troubles of many american citizens ignored of the post-Civil conflict financial progress. during this ebook, Robert W. Cherny strains Bryan’s significant political crusades for a brand new foreign money coverage, prohibition, and women’s suffrage, and opposed to colonialism, monopolies, America’s access into international struggle I, and the educating of evolution within the public faculties. Drawing on Bryan’s writings and correspondence, Cherny offers Bryan’s key function within the Democratic Party’s transformation from a proponent of minimum govt to an suggest of lively govt.

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The First Battle: Crusade for Free Silver 49 IV. Crusade against Imperialism 72 V. Between Crusades 91 VI. Progressive Crusades 108 VII. Crusades for Peace 134 VIII. The Final Battle: Crusade against Evolution 157 IX. Evaluating a Crusader 183 A Note on the Sources 205 Index 215 Page 1 I Youth of a Crusader In 1887, the first day of October had a double significance for twenty-seven-year old William Jennings Bryan. Three years before, he and Mary Baird had pronounced their wedding vows. Now, on his third wedding anniversary, the tall, black-haired lawyer stepped down from a train in Lincoln, Nebraska, the city he and Mary had chosen as their future home.

Both theology and regional sentiments separated the two Presbyterian congregations. Baptists, too, divided into two congregations, but along the lines of race. Salem also had a small Church of Christ. Catholics had formed a church during railroad construction in the 1850s, but only six Catholic families lived in Salem in 1881. Centralia, a town three times the size of Salem held Marion County's only Catholic congregation large enough to support a priest. Few immigrants lived in Salem, only eight percent of the adults; old-stock Protestant churchesand valuesdominated the town.

As Will and Dolph made their way through the bustling streets of Lincoln on October 1, 1887, it might have seemed that Bryan brought little to his new home on the plains. But within him he carried the values and attitudes formed in Salem, Jacksonville, and Chicago. He carried a deep reverence for family and church. He did not fight, drink, gamble, or swear. He believed that the Democratic party held the only hope for the nation, and that concentrated wealth posed the greatest danger to democracy and opportunity.

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