William Jennings Bryan, Speech at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, July 9, 1896.pdf

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AUTHOR: William Jennings Bryan TITLE: Speech at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago DATE: July 9, 1896 Never before in the history of this country has there been witnessed such a contest as that 5 through which we have just passed. Never before in the history of American politics has a great issue been fought out, as this issue has been, by the voters of a great party . . . . With a zeal approaching the zeal which inspired the crusaders who followed Peter the Hermit, our silver Democrats went forth from victory unto victory until they are now assembled, not to discuss, not to debate, but to enter up the judgment already rendered by the plain people of 10 this country. In this contest brother has been arrayed against brother, father against son. The warmest ties of love, acquaintance and association have been disregarded; old leaders have been cast aside when they have refused to give expression to the sentiments of those whom they would lead, and now leaders have sprung up to give direction to this cause of truth. Thus has the contest been waged, and we have assembled here under as binding and 15 solemn instructions as were ever imposed upon representatives of the people . . . . We do not come as individuals . . . . I say it was not a question of persons; it was a question of principle, and it is not with gladness, my friends, that we find ourselves brought into conflict with those who are now arrayed on the other side. 20 . . . [W]e stand here representing people who are the equals before the law of the greatest citizens in the State of Massachusetts. When you come before us and tell us that we are about to disturb your business interests, we reply that you have disturbed our business interests by course. 25 We say to you that you have made the definition of a business man too limited in its application. The man who is employed for wages is as much a business man as his employer; the attorney in a country town is as much a business man as the corporation counsel in a great metropolis; the merchant at the crossroads store is as much a business 30 man as the merchant of New York; the farmer who goes forth in the morning and toils all
day – who begins in the spring and toils all summer – and who by the application of brain and muscle to the natural resources of the country creates wealth, is as much a business man as the man who goes upon the board of trade and bets upon the price of grain; the miners who go down a thousand feet into the earth, or climb two thousand feet upon the 35 cliffs, and bring forth from their hiding-places the precious metals to be poured in the channels of trade, are as much business men as the few financial magnates who, in a back room, corner the money of the world. We come to speak for this broader class of business men.

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