Open main menu

Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Bryan, William Jennings

BRYAN, WILLIAM JENNINGS, an American political leader, born in Salem, Ill., March 19, 1860. He was graduated at Illinois College in 1881, preparing subsequently for the bar at Union College, Chicago. In 1887 he removed to Lincoln, Neb., and was elected to Congress in 1890, and again in 1892. Four years later he was nominated for the Presidency of the United States by the Democratic National Convention at Chicago. He advocated the free and unlimited coinage of silver by the United States at a ratio of 16 to 1, regardless of the action of other nations. The Presidential campaign resulted in his defeat. During the war with Spain, he became Colonel of a regiment of volunteers, but saw no field service. In 1900, he again appeared as Democratic candidate for the Presidency upon a platform of free silver, opposition to trusts, and anti-imperialism, and was again defeated by William McKinley. He made a tour of the world in 1906. In 1908 he was defeated for the Presidency by William H. Taft. He was appointed Secretary of State by President Wilson, March 4, 1913, and resigned Jan. 9, 1915. While in office he negotiated treaties with 30 nations. After resigning, devoted himself to lecturing. He took no active part in politics until the Democratic Convention of 1920, when he fought for the insertion of a prohibition plank in the platform. In this he failed. Publications: “Under Other Flags” (1904); “The Old World and Its Ways” (1907).

Collier's 1921 Bryan, William Jennings.jpg

WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN