Billy Graham Center


Text of the William Jennings Bryan excerpts on Tape T1 of Collection 97

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Click here to hear play the audio file of the transcribed texts below. (5 1/2 minutes)

First segment: Excerpts from and conclusion of the 1896 "Cross of Gold" speech
Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the convention. I would be presumptions indeed to present myself against the distinguished gentleman to whom you have listened if this were a mere measuring of abilities. But this is not a contest between persons. The humblest citizen in all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error. I come to speak to you in behalf of a cause as holy as the cause of liberty, the cause of humanity. Mr Carlyle said in 1878 that this was a struggle between the idle holders of idle capital and the struggling masses who produce the wealth and pay the taxes of the country. They tell us that the great cities are in favor of the gold standard. We reply that the great cities rest upon our broad and fertile prairies. Burn down your cities and leave our farms and your cities will spring up again as if by magic. But destroy our farms and the grass would grow in the streets of every city of the country. We care not upon what line the battle is fought. If they say bimetallism is good, but we cannot have it until other nations help us, we reply then that instead of having a gold standard because England has, we will restore bimetallism and let England has bimetallism because the United States has. If they dare to come out on 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 the nation and the world, the commercial interests, the laboring interests, and the toilers everywhere, we will answer the 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!"
(The text of the entire speech can be found at the History Matters website at: )

Segment 2: Democratic campaign song of 1896 (not sung by Bryan)
Eternally you are right, Billy boy.
We are with you in the fight, Billy boy.
Cast your banners to the breeze
And we'll sweep the might seas
And this will be your fame, Billy boy.

Segment 3: Excerpts and conclusion from Bryan's speech accepting the 1900 nomination to be the Democratic presidential candidate
Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I can never fully discharge the debt of gratitude which I owe to my countrymen for the honors which they have so generously bestowed upon me. But, sirs, whether it be my lot to occupy the high office for which the convention has named me or to spend the remainder of my days in private life, it shall be my constant ambition and my controlling purpose to aid in realizing the high ideals of those whose wisdom and courage and sacrifices brought this republic into existence.

Behold a republic gradually but surely becoming a supreme moral factor in the world's progress and the accepted arbiter of the world's disputes - a republic whose history, like the path of the just, "is as the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." [Proverbs 4:18]
(The text of the entire speech can be read at the American Rhetoric webpage at: )

Segment 4: The 23rd Psalm; background music, "Rock of Ages" and "Abide with Me."
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He maketh me to green pastures
He leadth me besides the still waters.
He restoreth my soul.
He leadeth in the paths of righteousness for His name sake.
Yea, thought I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
For Thou art with me.
Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
Thou annointeth my head with oil.
My cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

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Last Revised: 1/31/08
Expiration: indefinite

Wheaton College 2008