July 09, 2004

Time Suck of the Day

Inspired by the anniversary of William Jennings Bryan's famous "cross of gold" speech, given today in 1896, I ventured forth to look for the text of the speech and found this cool site: Great American Speeches (80 Years of Political Oratory). You will lose much time in here and probably quite profitably. Also, you might want to check out: Famous Speeches from USA Info.

In the meantime, check out this selection from the Bryan speech:

Ah, my friends, we say not one word against those who live upon the Atlantic Coast, but the hardy pioneers who have braved all the dangers of the wilderness, who have made the desert to blossom as the rose --the pioneers away out there [Bryan points westward], who rear their children, ear to Nature's heart, where they can mingle their voices with the voices of the birds--out there where they have erected school houses for the education of their young, churches where they praise their Creator, and cemeteries where they rest the ashes of their dead--these people, we say, are as deserving of the consideration of our party as any people in this country. It is for these people that we speak. We do not come as aggressors. Our war is not a war of conquest; we are fighting in the defense of our homes, our families, and our posterity. We have petitioned, and our petitions have been scorned; we have entreated, and our entreaties have been disregarded; we have begged, and they have mocked when our calamity came. We beg no longer; we entreat no more; we petition no more! We defy them!

and this, the conclusion:

No, my friends, that will never be the verdict of our people. Therefore, we care not upon what lines the battle is fought. If they say bi-metalism is good, but that we cannot have it until other nations help us, we reply that, instead of having a gold standard because England has, we will restore bi-metalism, and then let England have bi-metalism because the United States has it. If they dare to come out in the open field and defend the gold standard as a good thing, we will fight them to the uttermost. Having behind us the producing masses of this nation and the world, supported by the commercial interests, the laboring interests and the toilers everywhere, we will answer their demand for a gold standard by saying to them: "You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns! You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold!"

Good stuff.

Posted by Random Penseur at July 9, 2004 10:20 AM
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