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'Cross of Gold' Speech


"CROSS OF GOLD" SPEECH. William Jennings Bryan delivered his powerful words, "You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold," on 8 July 1896 at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. His pro-agrarian rhetoric appealed to the free-silver delegates from primarily rural areas, which suffered after the panic of 1893. Bryan, a Nebraskan, castigated the moneyed interests who espoused a single gold standard, which helped trade but harmed the lower classes. His carefully planned performance secured Bryan the nomination of both the Democrats and the Populists in 1896, but the Republican candidate William McKinley subsequently defeated Bryan.


Cherny, Robert W. A Righteous Cause: The Life of William Jennings Bryan. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1994.


See alsoFree Silver ; Gold Democrats ; Gold Standard ; Populism ; Silver Democrats .

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