1884 cartoon illustrating the decline of the "Democrat Bourbonism" (represented as an empty jug) by Joseph Keppler
William Jennings Bryan carried on the shoulders of delegates after giving the speech
President Grover Cleveland (1837–1908), a conservative who denounced political corruption and fought hard for lower tariffs and the gold standard, was the exemplar of a Bourbon Democrat
Congressman Richard P. Bland
The Chicago Coliseum
Former Iowa Governor Horace Boies was a major contender for the Democratic nomination for president in 1896.
In a 1900 engraving, former Massachusetts Governor William E. Russell is shown preceding Bryan in addressing the convention.
The 1896 Democratic National Convention
Judge magazine criticized Bryan for sacrilege in his speech. He is shown with crown and cross, but trampling the Bible.
Bryan campaigning on stage a few months after the speech
A "Bryan dollar" issued by his opponents to illustrate the difference between the size of a silver dollar and the amount of bullion that could be purchased with a dollar.

Harnessing the energy of an agrarian insurgency with his famous Cross of Gold speech, Congressman Bryan soon became the Democratic nominee for president in the 1896 election.

- Bourbon Democrat

Gold Democrats were successful in a few states in the Northeast, but had little luck elsewhere.

- Cross of Gold speech
1884 cartoon illustrating the decline of the "Democrat Bourbonism" (represented as an empty jug) by Joseph Keppler

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1896 United States presidential election

The 28th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 3, 1896.

The 28th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 3, 1896.

McKinley/Hobart campaign poster
Bryan's famous "cross of gold" speech gave him the presidential nomination and swung the party to the silver cause
The National "Gold" Democratic Convention
Palmer/Buckner campaign button
Conservatives said that Bryan (the Populist snake) was taking over (swallowing) the Democratic Party (the mule). Cartoon from "Judge" magazine, 1896.
Bryan's imposing voice and height made a deep impression on many who thronged to hear him.
Bryan traveled 18,000 miles in 3 months, concentrating on the critical states of the Midwest.
The National "Gold" Democratic Party undercut Bryan by dividing the Democratic vote and denouncing his platform.
Map of presidential election results by county
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Results by county, shaded according to winning candidate's percentage of the vote
Map of Republican presidential election results by county
Map of Democratic presidential election results by county
Map of "other" presidential election results by county
Cartogram of presidential election results by county
Cartogram of Republican presidential election results by county
Cartogram of Democratic presidential election results by county
Cartogram of "other" presidential election results by county
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Bryan, an attorney and former Congressman, galvanized support with his Cross of Gold speech, which called for a reform of the monetary system and attacked business leaders as the cause of ongoing economic depression.

In opposition to Bryan, some conservative Bourbon Democrats formed the National Democratic Party and nominated Senator John M. Palmer.

William Jennings Bryan

American lawyer, orator and politician.

American lawyer, orator and politician.

Bryan's birthplace in Salem, Illinois
Attorney Mary Baird Bryan, the wife of William Jennings Bryan
A young Bryan
"UNITED SNAKES OF AMERICA" "IN BRYAN WE TRUST" political satire token of 1896, known as "Bryan Money"
Bryan campaigning for president, October 1896
1896 electoral vote results
The United States and its colonial possessions after the Spanish–American War
Conservatives in 1900 ridiculed Bryan's eclectic platform.
1900 electoral vote results
William J Bryan in 1906 as Moses with new 10 commandments; Puck 19 sept 1906 by Joseph Keppler. Tablet reads: l-Thou shalt have no other leaders before me. II—Thou shalt not make unto thyself any high Protective Tariff. Ill—Eight hours, and no more, shalt thou labor and do all thy work. IV—Thou shalt not graft. V—Thou shalt not elect thy Senators save by Popular Vote. VI—Thou shalt not grant rebates unto thy neighbor. VII—Thou shalt not make combinations in restraint of trade. VIII—Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's income, but shall make him pay a tax upon it. IX—There shall be no more government by injunction. X—Remember Election Day to vote it early. P.S.— When in doubt, ask Me.
Bryan speaking at the 1908 Democratic National Convention
Presidential Campaign button for Bryan
1908 electoral vote results
Bryan attending the 1912 Democratic National Convention
Bryan served as Secretary of State under President Woodrow Wilson
Cartoon of Secretary of State Bryan reading war news in 1914
Villa Serena, Bryan's home built in 1913 at Miami, Florida
Charles W. and William J. Bryan
At the Scopes Trial, William Jennings Bryan (seated, left) being questioned by Clarence Darrow (standing, right).
Statue of Bryan on the lawn of the Rhea County courthouse in Dayton, Tennessee

At the 1896 Democratic National Convention, Bryan delivered his "Cross of Gold" speech which attacked the gold standard and the eastern moneyed interests and crusaded for inflationary policies built around the expanded coinage of silver coins.

In a repudiation of incumbent President Grover Cleveland and his conservative Bourbon Democrats, the Democratic convention nominated Bryan for president, making Bryan the youngest major party presidential nominee in U.S. history.

Nominees Bryan and Sewall

1896 Democratic National Convention

The scene of William Jennings Bryan's nomination as the Democratic presidential candidate for the 1896 U.S. presidential election.

The scene of William Jennings Bryan's nomination as the Democratic presidential candidate for the 1896 U.S. presidential election.

Nominees Bryan and Sewall
The convention was held at the Chicago Coliseum
Seating arrangement for delegates at the convention
Former Representative William Jennings Bryan of Nebraska
Former Representative Richard P. Bland of Missouri
Former Governor Robert E. Pattison of Pennsylvania
Senator Joseph Blackburn of Kentucky
Governor Horace Boies of Iowa
Newspaper Publisher John R. McLean of Ohio
Governor Claude Matthews of Indiana
Former Governor Sylvester Pennoyer of Oregon
Former Governor William E. Russell of Massachusetts
Senator John W. Daniel of Virginia
Former Representative Joseph C. Sibley of Pennsylvania
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<center>2nd Presidential Ballot</center>
<center>3rd Presidential Ballot</center>
<center>4th Presidential Ballot</center>
<center>5th Presidential Ballot</center>
President of the Maine Central Railroad Arthur Sewall of Maine
Former Representative George F. Williams of Massachusetts
State Associate Justice Walter Clark of North Carolina
Representative Nominee J. Hamilton Lewis of Washington (Ineligible, not yet 35 years of age)
Former Representative George W. Fithian of Illinois
<center>1st Presidential Ballot</center>
<center>2nd Presidential Ballot</center>
<center>3rd Presidential Ballot</center>
<center>4th Presidential Ballot</center>
<center>5th Presidential Ballot</center>

Bryan's keynote "Cross of Gold" address, delivered prior to his nomination, lambasted Eastern monied classes for supporting the gold standard at the expense of the average worker.

President Grover Cleveland, a Bourbon Democrat was pro-business and a staunch supporter of conservative measures such as the gold standard; he was strongest in the Northeast.