Thursday, April 29, 2010
Who Were The Bryans? Page 7 – Part 4
This clipping interested Chastena enough to cut it out and paste it in her book. I wondered who these people were and why she found them worth remembering? They were the children of the great William Jennings Bryan, the famous Democrat who represented his party as the Presidential nominee, served as Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson, and probably most famous for his role during the Scopes “Monkey” Trial. Finding out that Chastena admired him gave me yet more insight into my great great grandmother.
Wikipedia has this to say:
Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States in 1896, 1900 and 1908, a lawyer, and the 41st United States Secretary of State under President Woodrow Wilson. He was noted for a deep, commanding voice. Bryan was a devout Presbyterian, a supporter of popular democracy, a critic of banks and railroads, a leader of the silverite movement in the 1890s, a leading figure in the Democratic Party, a peace advocate, a prohibitionist, an opponent of Darwinism, and one of the most prominent leaders of populism in the late 19th and early 20th century. Because of his faith in the goodness and rightness of the common people, he was called "The Great Commoner."
In the intensely fought 1896 and 1900 elections, he was defeated by William McKinley but retained control of the Democratic Party. For presidential candidates, Bryan invented the national stumping tour. In his three presidential bids, he promoted Free Silver in 1896, anti-imperialism in 1900, and trust-busting in 1908, calling on Democrats, in cases where corporations are protected, to abandon states' rights, to fight the trusts and big banks, and embrace populist ideas. President Woodrow Wilson appointed him Secretary of State in 1913, but Wilson's handling of the Lusitania crisis in 1915 caused Bryan to resign in protest.
He was a strong supporter of Prohibition in the 1920s, and energetically attacked Darwinism and evolution, most famously at the Scopes Trial in 1925. Five days after winning the case but getting bad press, he died in his sleep.
Bryan opposed the Theory of Evolution for two reasons. First he believed that what he considered a materialistic account of the descent of man through evolution undermined the Bible. Second, he saw neo-Darwinism or Social Darwinism as a great evil force in the world promoting hatreds and conflicts, especially the World War.[
To read the full account of his life and politics, you can link here: