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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Dec. 1, 1916)
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Newspaper Comments on the 1916 Election
Discussing Mr. Bryan's Connection With the Late Presidential Campaign and Its Influence on Future Politics
MAX WHO CAUSED ALL TIIIS NERVE-RACKING
From the Montgomery (Ala.) Journal.
There has been a political revolution in the
far west and middle west.
It has disturbed the equanimity of the whole
It has been a revelation.
It has shocked the republicans, and surprised
It has caused a nerve-racking condition among
both democrats and republicans.
And what has caused all this?
Who has been the greatest factor in the edu
cation of the western farmer to the Ideals of the
Who has since 1896 been constantly at work
among the western farmers trying to convince
them that the republican party was the party
of predatory wealth, by and for predatory
wealth, and the democratic party was the party
of the people, by the people, and for the people?
Who has soughtto show them it was a party
of the masses and not of special interests?
Who is the man who has been the chief fac
tor in this great work of education? the people
They know something has happened out there
to change the political views and complexion
of the farmers and business men, that has made
a wonderful conversion, a conversion that means
a new era has dawned in American politics,
and that the one man who has been the enemyot
Wall street and who Wall street has sought to
destroy and who they have declared "politically
dead and buried," time after time, may yet
achieve an ambition, if he yet has it, to be elect
ed to the highest office within the gift of the
American people without their vote and despite
their opposition and their money.
That man said .at the St. Louis convention, to
the confusion of Wall street and his enemies: '
"I have no planks to offer but one, and that
is the President's. Determine what he wants
and his plank his mine. I expect to go before
the people in his behalf."
And he went.
He did not go to the east.
He went to the west.
For seven weeks prior to the election he
made from two to a half or a dozen speeches
a day to the farmers and business men of the
In an interview during the campaign he de
clared that heretofore he could "speak of prom
ises only" but now he could speak of "the good
actually accomplished by a democratic admin
istration of promises fulfilled."
"All of these elements," he said, referring to
the farmers and business men of the west,
"unite in warm approval of the foreign poli
cies of the administration, whereby peace has
been preserved with our stricken neighbor,
Mexico, and America has been spared the hor
rors of participation in the European war. It
is no idle thing to say that the west is literally
aflame with sentiment, for Wilson because of
the successful and honorable manner in which
he has preserved the peace. Nor is it idle to
say that the west regards peace as the para
mount issue of this campaign, and intends to
That .man did not ask the national democratic
committee to pay his expenses during the cam
paign. Ho paid his own expenses and spoke from
the rear platform of cars on special trains to
thousands ivho had gathered at the various
stations along the route, arousing the greatest
Wilson had carried out his ideals of govern
ment. Had stood for wrhat he had been con
tending for and fighting for nearly twenty
years, and he had his ideal candidate a can
didate for whom he could pour out his whole
soul everywhere, and he spoke strongly, feel
ingly, sincerely; and the people -knew he was
honest; they had known and heard him and
jcved him for nearly a quarter of a century and
he had never deceived them
The hour and the man had met. TIiobo farm
ers and business men had loved him, but had
not followed him simply because of party reg
ularity and the party name.
But at last the education ho had been car
rying on consistently among those peoplo had
It was an education not without good results
as shown by the returns so far received from
that section of this country which has usually
followed the east in presidential contests.
Ho seems to have known it in advance.
"We are going to elect Wilson without New
York and the east," he said, in an interview
giving a forecast of the election, a week beforo
It is hardly necessary for the Journal to name
The people of the country know him.
He is a great moralist.
There are those who think ho should have
been a preacher; but many of those who havo
so strenuously asserted this often had a wish
that ho had a more limited field of action, that
he should no longer havo tho whole world for
Ho is an able, conscientious and courageous
defender of freedom; a man of conviction, Avith
the courage to express it in courteous lan
guage; who appeals to the reason of tho uppor
and nether as well as tho great middlo class of
Amer'cans as a hard reasoner and clear thinker,
who had rather drift Into obscurity and sink in
to oblivion on an unpopular tide than to desert
the people's cause, and who will live in stature,
history and hearts of the people as tho greatest
defender of human rights in his day.
"God bless W'lliam Jennings Bryan" is now
on the Ips of Democrats, all sorts of Wilson
THE WITNESS IN THE WEST
The retirement of Mr. Bryan from the chief
post in the cabinet of President Wilson last year
was hailed with scarcely concealed glee by tho
republican leaders and newspapers. The Wilson
administration was doomed, they said. The
passage of uncommonly cordial expression of
regard between the President and Mr. Bryan at
the time of their official separation excited only
their jeers. Even from those who should have
known better came intimations that tho great
Nebraskan would turn upon Mr. Wilson.
It long ago became a republican maxim al
most an eastern maxim that Mr. Bryan is an
unscrupulous person. So the east resolved 20
years ago and so, in their opinion, he must be.
They have taught themselves that sincerity, so
far as W. J. Bryan is concerned, is non-existent
and that Is ono of tho reasons that thoy wcro
unpropared for what camo to pass a week Ago.
Now tho truth is that sincerity and direct,
forward going honesty bf purpoao and action
aro tho characteristics that distinguish this
western gentloman. Perhaps ho lackfl tho apti
tudo for fincsso, porhaps ho is poor In tho quick
ness, tho cunning, tho trained and awlft adroit
ness of Intellect, that deflno political talont in
tho eaBt. Perhaps, for that roanon, In tho east
ho is not understood. Ho violates tho ancient
rules of play. He in not vengoful and angry
Svhon, to tho eastern mind, he ought to bo. Honco
ho is inscrutable
Hence, for tho samo reason, tho west (s in
scrutable. Tho west knows Mr. Bryan. , Tho west looks
upon a very human sort of man, of robust mind
and not without imperfections yet withal slncoro,
big of purpose, who goes right on with steps
truo to those larger principles of righteousness
and justice that men learn as children. 8o the
west understands Bryan and to tho west it Is
not strange that, though out of tho cabinet, he
is Wilson's friend.
That Nebraska has voted for Wilson Is no
singular phenomenon in tho west. Nor does it
call for explanation that everywhere that Bryan
journeyed, defending tho policies of tho Wilson
administration, explaining them and impressing
them, the peoplo voted for Mr. Wilson on oloc
tion day. To be sure they woro not voting for
Mr. Bryan. Indeed, their inclination was to vote
for Mr. Wilson. But Bryan was tho witness for
Wilson that they, wantod ; ho was tho supporter
of the Wilson cause that they trusted, whom
thoy gladly heard because thoy knew him.
It is no new thing that with a whole and single
heart William J. Bryan serves his country. The
zoal of ,thc west that tho man shall rule In this
republic Bryan lighted 20 years ago. In tho
convention at Baltimore it was Bryan that sot
his great party in tho path that since that day
it has trod. It Is Bryan that In 19 10 is tho
sponsor for Wilson whom the peoplo heed. Now
York and Boston sneer at Bryan but the coun
try moves on. Cdlumbia (S. C.) State.
From the New York World.
HAS MR. IJRYAN "COME BACK?"
Has Mr. Bryan "come back?" Well, judging
from tho ovations ho is receiving oven in New
England, wo should say so, if Indeed he needed
to come back. Mr. Bryan arrived some years
ago and has remained since. The Baltimore
convention of 1912 exhibited his influenco on
his party; the recent campaign has shown his
marvelous hold on the people. The states In
which Mr. Bryan spoke gave the votes that elect
ed tho President. Wilson and Bryan aro the
leaders of- the democracy, and it is the personal
ity of the men and the confidence felt in both of
them that make the hold of the party secure.
For Mr. Bryan there is indeed a love which prob
ably passes that felt for any other tribune of
tho people In all our history. Only our own.
"Old Hickory" had such a following. There are
millions of men in this country, democrats and
republicans, who would undergo almost any
personal sacrifice to sec him president of the
How silly for any enemy of Mr. Bryan to con
tinue to criticise his lecturing for pay. A part
of each year he devotes to this purpose. His
only source of income is from his writings and
his lectures. With It all, ho is not a rich man
But of his Income he gives a larger portion to
useful public purposes than any other man In
the public eye. There are many who would be
pleased if they could isolate Mr. Bryan and her
metically seal his truth-speaking lips. The press
has never been fair to the Commoner There Is
always against him a conspiracy either or silence
or abuse in its Influenced columns. Uo Ho bas
been too cheap that It has not been freely used
to foster prejud'ee. But on his devoted head
abuse, misrepresentation and ridicule alike have
fallen without injury. He is greater today than
ever neiore.. Modern times havo produced but
one man whose life compares with his, and that
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