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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (April 1, 1921)
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Recently Mr. William Jennings Bryan cele
brated his sixty-first birthday at his homo in
' M?ami, Florida. Asked by the press for a state
vffl3nt as to his feelings upon this occasion, he
.ho latter days of life like the autumn
. months, have joys of their own that make them
tilco'me in spite of the silent warning that they
3Jhey are the harvest days and are gladdened
he results of early labors.
o one has been more fortunate than I in
family and in friends, in congenial co-workers
. aj?3pn the satisfaction that comes with the se
- "ftfifijPS of reforms. I have lived my life in a
, JiNndcrf ul period and have seen four great con-
wStutional amendments adopted.
"jjigPopular election of United States senators
brought this government nearer to the people.
' &bDiq income tax equalizes the burdens of the
UProlitbition gives us our greatest moral vic-
' -IgiffiSuffrago gives an impetus to evey righteous
' tffi&i1 havo seen tne natlon demonstrate its fight
, SSJgptrength and then prove-its disinterested de
$gotion to peace and progress. I have seen parti
anship wane and political independence grow.
-jjForty years in politics have made me an
'Wthnist. Democracy, which is stronger than any
ySxty, will solve all our problems.
EiWhile I hope and expect to see my party play
important part, the country will go forward
.her the Democrats lead or lag behind. I am
mutt, too, that our government win ieaa m ine
lLAvTinnf fnr HanrmnmATit- fiTirf Wfirlfl Tlfirthfl.
fflfiBod is on His tnrone and the teachings of the
.jrrce ox jreuce exert au uuuuuumg mnuouuo uu
tHSjliieartB of mankind."
jferat everything Mr. Bryan says there is great
y4gljfworth pondering over and this is especially
' ftiSJfpf his recent birthday talk. One would not
JmnMct, unless he knew Mr. Bryan intimately,
JhmksE a splendid note of optimism from one who
,f Td faced during a long political career so many
ypSrsonal defeats as have characterized . Mr.
'Iran's political activities. Yet Mr. Bryan may
tfmell.. be consoled, and probably is, by- the fact
BSfo his defeats have really been victories, be- .
jumse the principles for which he has contended
'Joavo in good time been generally adopted and
dSxsfiF recognized as beneficent by those who
.' PI War iy UBBttiieu mum.
jRTe have always felt that Mr. Bryan was far
more concerned witn tne success or tne iaeas
g& ideals for which he has stood than he was
"UriW-HJU ttUy IJOlDUllCVi tt5t,iaimoouaui wuuk ubuu
i7om6 to mm in conneuuuu. wnu iiieir pruuimgu
iE5n. One has only to turn back to the Demo
cratic platform of 1896 to realize how much of
ISffi- Bryan political philosophy of twenty-five
s- i i i -i,i i v. ..
yjWtra ago UttH Biuue ubuu uuuyicu. xu. uma uuuu-
Even his position on tne currency ques
tion in those days has received a far wider
ognition than the average person realizes.
'Fundamentally, in 1896 Mr. Bryan stood for
quantitative theory of money and exchange,
5nd for the policy that the banking and cur-
Srohcy business of the country should be strictly
TOKft l-X-J T... 4.U r,-, ,,,- Ao Y.n Till if
citibanks should go out of the governing business
';Wd the government, to a greater extent, go into
ffififig banking business;" and this is exactly what
vjfflas happened under the terms of our present
Ijflplendid Federal Reserve Act. The idea also
j'Mfjat the quantity of money of ultimate redemp
&?fth has a very direct relationship upon the
,r?poiirse of prices is also generally acknowledged
riMnd the best and most constructive effort now
ifeing made in behalf of currency reform is
directed almost solely toward the idea of pro
ducing a stable standard of value. This, indeed,
Sffi; the whole purpose of the plan proposed by
rofessor Irving Fisher and other noted econo-
ists for stabilizing the purchasing power of
She dollar. The whole notion of the intrinsic
Kalue of gold as a sound money medium, the
whole monometallistic theory of currency, which
,Ir. Bryan combated in 1896, has been disproved
roy the whole course of events since that time.
We hardly know of any man in American po
litical history who to a greater degree than Mr.
Bryan has proposed so many reforms and suf
fered nolitlcal defeat because ne proposed tnem,
mnd'yet has lived to see these reforms brought
to being and generally recognized by even
those who formerly bitterly opposed them. Mr.
Bryan's great misfortune, so far as he is person
ally concerned, is that in his ideals and ideas he
has always been a considerable distance in ad
vance of the ordinary thought of his time. But
he has lived to see the procession of progress
catch up with him and adopt scores of his ideas
which at first the people repudiated. If there is
one man in America who, from his own experi
ences, is qualified to give expert testimony that
the world does move and that humanity is mak
ing progress, that man is William Jennings
Bryan. That is probably why Mr. Bryan is such
a .confirmed optimist. Certainly it is one of the
great reasons why such a host of people admire
and respect Mr. Bryan; and while through all
tho years of personal setbacks of one kind or
another, he has been able, not only to maintain
tho confidence of great masses of people, but
what is equally important to maintain a splen
did faith in himself and the work that he has
been privileged to do. New Haven, Conn.,
DRYEST AND QUIETEST INAUGURATION
Newspapers continue to discuss' the recent
inauguration of President Harding and the fact
that it was the first time in history that the head
of a great civilized people was inducted into
office under a dry regime. Former inaugurals
were attended by much drunkenness, many think
ing it an appropriate way to show their pleasure
or disgust or sorrow, depending on party affilia
tions. Every former inauguration meant the arrest
of scores of persons on the charge of intoxica
tion, while on the day of the ceremony last
month only 12 persons were arrested on that
charge. The desire of Mr. Harding for a quiet
inauguration, according to 4he Washington
Herald, "must have included the order to jam
the cork into the bottle and throw the corkscrew
into the Potomac."
All the correspondents agree it was the dry
est and quietest inauguration in the history of
the country. The Washington Star remarks in
regard to the event:
"Perhaps the most impressive feature of the
crowds which lined Pennsylvania avenue was
the almost total absence of any evidence of in
toxicants. There were very few inebriated men
along the lino of the presidential ride. This
contrasted with the situation four years ago,
when local prohibition had not yet made itself
felt materially in" Washington and the police
made many arrests on charges of drunkenness.
"It is much to the country's credit that the
change in administration took place under such
conditions. A sober inauguration augurs well
for the people. It is much .more appropriate
than to make such an event a-drunken debauch."
GOOD WORD FOR BRYAN
To The Commercial Appeal:
In reference to Mr. Bryan in your editorials
of Sunday and Monday you condemn him for
resigning from the president's cabinet at a criti
Why did he resign? Because he saw that his
ideas were not in harmony with the president
and he saw that it was best for the nation that
President Wilson have some one whose views
were not diametrical to his.
Was this not an act of greatness on his part?
We were entering into one of the greatest con
flicts of the age, a part in which the secretary of
state was to play a conspicuous part. Few men
filled with ambition could have resisted the temp
tation of staying in regardless of consequences,
but Mr. Bryan saw that it was best (not for him
that he resign), but best for the president's ad
ministration during the war the he make his
cabinet more harmonious. Bryan made a great
personal sacrifice for others.
Then during tho 1916 campaign, while news
papers all over the country were deriding him for
deserting the administration, did he sulk in his
tent as 99 out of 100 would have done?
He spent eight weeks campaigning in the west
for the president at his own expense, when he
could have been making $500 per day lecturing,
because he knew it was best for the country and
the Democratic party that Wilson be re-elected.
When he rounded up his trip he went east, where
they asked him how the west would go. He said,
"Democratic," and the political critics laughed
at him. You know what really happened.
You ask why he sat' idly by during the last
campaign while the Democratic party was
I thought he did wrong in this the same as
you. But can we expect any human boing to bo
porfect all tho tirao? Can we consistently lovo
a man for what ho did in two campaigns and
then hato him because ho docs not keop it up?
In other words if a man helps us a number of
times shall we suddenly fall out with him if ho
at some times refuses, and then forget his past
The Democratic conventions of 1904 and 1920
ignored all suggestions of Mr. Bryan, then In
the campaigns that followed he elected to play
hands off and let those who differed with him
have their own way and they made a signal
failure. Ho did not interfere, he Just said go
ahead, may bo you are right. You may know
best, your policy may be best to win. Was that
not fair enough?
I thought ho was wrong in tho convention at
San Francisco. The convention did just as I
personally thought it should do on the liquor
question, but now after wo aro ingloriously
licked, shall wo fall out with Mr. Bryan on ac
count of it?
Since 1892 Democracy has lost three times
under his leadership, but did not lose nearly so
badly as we have lost two times when ho did
not lead, and we have won two times under his
- Do we not have, to admit that tho results are
in his favor?
He has done all of this with many in his own
party fighting hi'm all the time.
What might he do in 1924 if the party goto
solidly behind him? Why throw brickbats at
him because-he has done a few things that we
think wore wrong when ho has done so much
that brought great results?
DEMOCRACY MUST BE A PARTY OF THE
Continued from Pago 11.
to separate the Democratic democracy from tho
plutocratic democracy Oil ana water will not
mix. The Democratic party cannot longer sur
vive half plutocratic and half Democratic.
It is a propitious time for a reorganization of
the party, anyhow. There aro Democrats who
ought to b"e in the Republican party and Republi
cans who ought to be in the Democratic party.
Let these men find their political level. Let
them seek the camps to which they belong.
Don't be afraid. Go where your convictions lead
you. If you are not a Democrat, don't be false
to your political conscience, but go right on to
the Republican camp. If you aro not a Repub
lican, and your interests lie in the Democratic
party, come right out into tho 'fellowship of
your real faith and what you conceive your
evident welfare. The curse of all parties is tho
compulsory loyalty that comes from environment
or heredity. The democracy and the plutoc
racy have a great battle which must be fought
out. Let us fight it honestly and have no half
hearted or lukewarm followers in either camp.
Upon these new lines and progressive democ
racy which will really represent the people can
live and prosper and win.
But there must be a new and progressive de
mocracy or there will soon be no Democratic
It is up to the people. What say they?
Back east a movement has been undertaken
to stopthe increase in the habit of drinking
tea on the ground that its immediate effect is
to stimulate the mental and muscular energy
of tho drinker. There is reason to suspect that
this is a sort of backfire by the tobacco manu
facturers to ward off the nicotine crusade tho
Women's Christian Temperance Union is contemplating.
Owing to the kindly-disposed attitude of tho
authorities towards booze selling, it is now pos
sible, if we are to believe the press reports, any
person who wants intoxicants can buy them
in New York, Chicago and other large cities.
Which would seem to indicate that it is the
sousing and not the housing problem that is
up for solution there.
After being in session for seventy-two .days the
Nebraska legislature has manufactured but
sixty-six laws, or about 40 per cent of the
normal output. Some legislatures achieve fame
through the character of the progressive legis
lation they enact while others get mentioned in
the papers' because of the progressive legisla
tion that iB sidetracked.
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