Literature Study GuidesCross Of Gold Speech

Cross of Gold Speech | Study Guide

William Jennings Bryan

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "Cross of Gold Speech Study Guide." Course Hero. 20 Sep. 2018. Web. 22 Sep. 2023. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2018, September 20). Cross of Gold Speech Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved September 22, 2023, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2018)



Course Hero. "Cross of Gold Speech Study Guide." September 20, 2018. Accessed September 22, 2023.


Course Hero, "Cross of Gold Speech Study Guide," September 20, 2018, accessed September 22, 2023,



William Jennings Bryan

Year Delivered



Primary Source



At a Glance

  • William Jennings Bryan (1860–1925), a former Democratic congressman from Nebraska, gave his "Cross of Gold" speech on July 8, 1896, to close out the Democratic Convention in Chicago, Illinois, in an attempt to grab the presidential nomination from incumbent president Grover Cleveland (1837–1908).
  • Bryan spoke out against the gold standard, which linked the country's paper currency to gold. Bryan also supported some platforms of the Populist Party, which represented the demands of farmers and workers and championed the working class.
  • Bryan's central thesis was that his audience should oppose anyone who claimed the gold standard was good, because it was only good for wealthy Northeastern elites. Further, it hurt farmers and laborers and subjugated the United States to Europe.
  • The speech was received enthusiastically. The delegates adopted a free silver platform, which sought to reauthorize and recirculate silver coins to help workers climb out of debt, and the next day Bryan became the Democratic Party's nominee for president.
  • The address is widely considered one of the greatest political speeches ever made. In his expertly crafted argument, Bryan used biblical images to frame the money question as a moral issue. The speech was also progressive in centering on the economic needs of the masses rather than those of the elite.


This study guide for William Jennings Bryan's Cross of Gold Speech offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

Buy this book from
Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Cross of Gold Speech? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!