Biography of William Jennings Bryan


Bryan, William Jennings. Editor and publicist. Born in Salem, IL, March 19, 1860. Early education in public schools and Whipple Academy; graduate of Illinois College, Jacksonville, 1881; Union College of Law, Chicago, 1883. Practiced at Jacksonville, IL, 1883-87; then at Lincoln, NE. Member of Congress, 1891-95. Received Democratic vote for United States senator in Nebraska Legislature, 1893. Nominated in Democratic convention for United States senator, 1894, but was defeated in legislature by John M. Thurston. Editor of Omaha "World-Herald," 1894-96. Delegate to democratic National Convention, 1896. Wrote the "silver plank" in its platform, made a notable speech, and was nominated for president of United States. Traveled over 18,000 miles during campaign, speaking at almost every stopping place. Received 176 electoral votes against 271 for William McKinley. In 1897-98, he lectured on bimetallism. Raised in May, 1898, the 3rd Regiment of Nebraska Volunteer Infantry for war against Spain, becoming its colonel. Nominated for president in 1900 by Democratic, Populist, and Silver Republican conventions, but was again defeated by William McKinley. Established "The Commoner," 1900. He was again nominated for president in 1908 and, after a notable campaign, was defeated by W. H. Taft. In 1912 he took an active part in the Democratic National Convention, and was largely instrumental in securing the nomination of Wilson for president. Became secretary of state, 1913; resigned 1915 because opposed to President Wilson's diplomatic policy toward Germany. Author: "The First Battle," "Under Other Flags"; also many articles in magazines and newspapers.