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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Dec. 1, 1916)
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VOL. 16, NO. 12
was William B. Gladstone. Mr. Bryan 1b not yet
old, but when his ago docs fall on hfm ho will
bo our Grand Old Man.
On Docerabor G tho house and senate democrats
will entertain Mr. Bryan in a dinner at Wash
ington. They will pay tribute to his sorvices in
tho last campaign. On tho same day tho Pres
ident will entertain him at luncheon. Despite
all the efforts of the marplots, tho friendship be
tween Woodrow Wilson and William Jennings
Bryan has never been broken. Chattanooga
MR. BRYAN IS NOT A "HAS BEEN"
William J. Bryan was an "also ran" for Pres
ident three times and yet ho is not a. "has been."
The other day ho viBitcd in Washington, and was
tho guest of President Wilson at luncheon, and
tho samo ovcning was the guest of honor at a
banquet tendered him by distinguished citizens.
Ho stands today in tho front rank of tho great
est publicists tho country has produced.
Whorevor ho goes the people delight to honor
him. Through ways that were dark, and tricks
that wero not vain, the special interests and
Wall street prevented his olection as President,
but they did not shake tho affection of tho com
mon people for him. They did not "down" him.
Ho was not scathed by tho ridicule that was
hurled upon him nor was his escutcheon soiled
by calumny and misrepresentation. Ho jas time
and time again consigned to tho dump heap.
Epitaphs were written to mark his last resting
place as a victim of his own folly. But he does
not die at any man's or sot of men's bidding. Ho
remains tho groat Commoner, a man without
office and without patronage to bestow. Ho Is
more dreaded by Wall street, special interests
and bv various political bosses than an "army
with banners." That Mr. Bryan can maintain
his mental equilibrium in the face of popular
adulat'on and not bo inflated with self conceit
is an evidence of tho purity of his purposes and
tho strength of his character.
That Mr. Bryan must bo potential in future
national campaigns as ho has been in such cam
paigns for twenty years no ono can deny who
has studied his character and recognizes his
popularity. The forces that have tried to make
him a "has been" realize their failure and that
it can not bo done. His ability, his genius com
bined with his genuine popularity insure his
continuance as a potential factor in the publio
affairs of tho country. Illinois State Register.
Mr. William Jennings Bryan has been the
target for many sneors and denunciations even
from members of his own party during tho last
year, and many of us were inclined to think he
had "laid down" in the recent campaign. But
he comes to the front now smiling and good-natured,
with Nebraska and pretty nearly all tho
western states in which he campaigned in his
hand as an offering to democracy and progress.
We got very angry with Mr. Bryan, when he left
Mr. Wilson's cabinet, but whatever else may be
said of him, ho has borne no malice, and he did
his duty like a man in tho battle just ended. And
ho did it In a section where his voice still counts,
WHY' NOT GIVE BRYAN FULL CREDIT FOR
THE RESULT -.
It is gratifying to see the press of tho coun
try, even those newspapers hitherto unfriendly
to Mr. Bryan, now giving Mr. Bryan credit for
good work for Mr. Wilson, if they do not admit
absolutely that to the Nebraskan's foresight in
making the fight In tho west and ignoring the
east, he made possible Wilson's victory.
The Journal takes pleasure in reprinting this
kindly tribute from tho Birmingham News,
which paper had become so Imbued with the
idea of Mr. Bryan's purpose to destroy Wilson, a
laRoosOVelt in J.912, that it bitterly opposed
any friend of the distinguished Nebraskan being
sent to tfya St. Louis convention:
r"I.n the great rejoicing of democrats, over tho
eljeqtlon of President Wilson, there is ono thing
that sliouXd not be overlooked or forgotten. That
is1' Mr.' Brian's course in the campaign and his
cont'rJbutiQn to tho result.
"It is well known that the News in the past
has criticised him severely for his course in
leaving the cabinet and in differing with the
reshjent on his foreign policy. But from the
day-of tho assemblage of tho St. Louis conven
tion, Mr. Bryan put all that behind him and
camo out strongly in support of tho President.
Tho editor of tho News heard his splendid speech
at St. Louis in favor of the democratic party
and of President Wilson as its able and effective
leader, and was delighted with tho Commoner's
attitude and spirit.
"Throughout the campaign Mr. Bryan has
stood loyally by his party and by the President.
Ho has made hundreds of speeches in the west
in the interest of tho ticket, and there is no
doubt that his work was beneficial. The demo- -cratic
majorities in Nebraska and Kansas and
other western states are a distinct testimony
that he did good work. His powerful voice was
a great help.
"The News has always respected Mr. Bryan's
ability and sincerity; It has only deplored his
lack of judgment. It is a source of great sat
isfaction to his thousands of admirers in the
south that he brushed aside his differences with
tho President as immaterial and that he con
centrated his attention on tho issues and has
demonstrated his influence in jthe party organ
ization and his capacity for leadership."
"Wilson will be elected without New York,"
said Mr. Bryan in his forecast of the election,
and added that "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 tlie peace.
Nor is it idle to say that the west regards peace
as the paramount issue of this campaign, and
intends to vote accordingly."
It was Bryan's judgment that the Baltimore
platform should contain certain promises to the
Those promises were inserted in the platform.
They have been fulfilled.
When Mr. Bryan was campaigning for himself
he could only say what he would try to do for
the plain people of the country, if they elected
"I can make a much better argument," he said
on the night he left the Kansas City auditorium
with the cheers of 16,000 people ringing in liis
ears, "for the re-election of President Wilson
than I could ever make for myself. For four
campaigns I have been able to talk about prom
ises only; but today I can point to a record
greater than any administration of our genera
tion. Deeds are so much more convincing than
If it was Mr. Bryan's sublime courage and
political sagacity that made the nomination of
Wilson possible at Baltimore in 1912, it was
his knowledge of the people, his almost uner
ring judgment of their will and wishes that has
re-elected Woodrow Wilson in 1916.
In tho October Commoner was printed Mr
Bryan's speech that he delivered throughout the .
west, and it is the best speech he ever wrote or
It is no secret that tens of thousands, prob
ably a million or more, of that issue of The
Commoner containing the speech were secured
by the national democratic committee and sent
broadcast over the west, perhaps practically into
the home of nearly every voter in that section.
It is a most notable speech, and the Journal
would suggest that the editor of the News, be
fore pronouncing judgment upon the good po
litical sagacity and good judgment of Mr. Bryan,
should get a copy of that speech and read it.
Ho went out in the west making his fight not
upon tho republican party to which the west
claimed allegiance, but the reactionaries of the
party against which it had rebelled and repu
diated in 1912 when it voted practically solid
for Roosevelt and the progressive principles and
policies he claimed to represent, and of which
principles and policies he then said:
"Men and womon, I. would continue the fight
even if I stood entirely alone. I shall continue
it with a glad and proud heart, because it is
made in your company.
"Win or lose, whatever the outcome, I am
with you, and I am for this cause to fight to the
end. We are dedicated in this great war for'
righteousness, and while life lasts we cannot and
we will not abandon it.
"The men who believe that we will ever be
tray these Ideals or abandon the task to which
we have set ourselves do not know us -and can
not even guess at the fciith that inspires us.
PvpTSy61!1 WiU never g0 back and What
ever may betida In tho ft x,., .. .
Itaelpl of an easy opportunism maV" est
sured. I will never abandon the nrlnpfm ,
which we" progressives have pledged our If to
and I will never abandon the men andS
dpTes'GW ar me t0 baUle f0r these pS
With reference to those principles Mr nrv,
simply continued the fight where Roosevelt i5
off, and the people. knew Bryan and had Vni
fidence in him for Roosevelt in 1912 had Zt
stolen Bryan's principles he had consistent n i
vocated since 1896. wmuy ad.
- "The first question is, whether this govern
ment shall continue to be administered by tw
now in control or shall bo turned back to the rl
actionaries from whom the government J
taken four years ago," declared Mr. Bryan
Of course he had other appeals, effective hik
peals, not the least of which was "Wilson has
kept us out of war," and the promises made anri
fulfilled by the democratic party.
Why not give Bryan1 full credit for his work
He nominated Wilson at Baltimore in 1912
Ho re-elected him in 1916.
And Bryan has pointed the way to success in
1920, if the party will only follow him.
Hughes had not awakened to the new condi
tions that confronted the country.
He had forgotten that Roosevelt defeated his
own party, getting two to one as a progressive
candidate over Taft as a reactionary candidate
of his party.
"He (Hughes) never once," says The Nation,
in its comemnta upon the results of the election,
"seemed to perceive that the great awakening
of 1912, with the breaking up of parties which
took place that year, had a message for him. Ho
could easily have won a mighty response from
tho progressive west; as it is he merely baffled
and chilled it."
The Nation 'gives Wilson the credit for "hav
ing shown himself a veritable Pathfinder, not
only for his party but for the nation."
Wilson, and we say it with greatest respect
and admiration for the President, but followed
the path pointed out to him by his distinguished
cabinet officer, a man who knows the people of
the west, knows the peojple of the east, knows
the people of the whole country, better than any
public man in this country. Montgomery (Ala.)
The business of burying Bryan has begun
again by those well-intentioned folks who can
not keep up with his rapid and vigorous move
ments to better mankind. Mr. Bryan will, how
ever, refuse to stay buried as he has done in
the past some sixteen times. He has won a sig
nal victory in the late election. He worked for
Wilson in the west jind Wilson carried the west.
Without Bryan's influence, Wilson would be ar
ranging at this time to move out of the White
house and the smile behind the whiskers of Mr.
Hughes would be evident. Bryan worked for
a dry Nebraska and it appears about as dry as
the most ardent dry advocate could wish. He
declined to help Hitchcock and Neville but they
went in, anyway, and on this his enemies haso
their intentions of burying him, but more
thoughtful people remember that when Ne
braska went dry it put the skids under that
element in Nebraska democracy that has been
the most bitter toward Bryan. They may not
discover it at once but their feet are more apt
to find slippery places hereafter, than before,
Furthermore, the atmosphere has cleared and
the anti-Bryan democrats brought out into the
light. Taken altogether, the business of bury
ing Mr. Bryan is going to be just as difficult and
fatiguing as heretofore. Fairbury (Neb.)
WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN
Do not lose sight of William J. Bryan. He is
very much alive and knows exactly what he is
trying to do. He may fail. He may not. In any
event, he will make politics decidedly interesting
in this country for the next four years.
His campaign to put the democratic party on
record in favor of nation-wide prohibition, may
not be so chimerical as to some it first appears.
It is probable that President Wilson will keep
hands-off ; that he will not undertake, as Roose
velt did, to control the nomination of life j suc
cessor, or the platform on which the cantiwaio
is to run. In that case, Bryan may appear
the great outstanding character in the uomu
cratic party .available for leadership.
If he spends the next four years organize