William Jennings Bryan 1860 – 1925

Born in March, Statesman from Nebraska

Born in Salem, Illinois in 1860, William Jennings Bryan was renowned as a gifted debater. He was elected to the U.S. Congress to represent Nebraska in 1890 but was defeated for the U.S. Senate in 1894. The next two years, he served as editor of the Omaha World-Herald.

Bryan ran for president in 1896, traveling more than 18,000 miles through 27 states, but he lost to William McKinley. He lost to McKinley again in 1900 and to William Howard Taft in 1908. In 1912, President Woodrow Wilson appointed him Secretary of State.

With his deep, commanding voice and wide travels, he was perhaps the best-known orator and lecturer of the era. Because of his faith in the wisdom of the common people, he was called “The Great Commoner.” He supported Prohibition and attacked Darwinism and evolution, most famously at the Scopes Trial in 1925 in Tennessee. On July 26, 1925, five days after the Scopes case ended, Bryan died in his sleep in Dayton, Tennessee. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.




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