William Jennings Bryan: Spellbinder


by Burt Dubin on May 25, 2011

William Jennings Bryan:  Spellbinder

1. “A speaker should not speak from the top of his head, but from the bottom of his heart.

He must be tremendously enthused about worthwhile subjects concerning which he is thoroughly informed.”

So said William Jennings Bryan.

2. William Jennings Bryan was a rare speaker.  He lived from 1860 to 1925.  He was one of the best known speakers and lecturers of his era.  He started young . . . was the valedictorian of his Illinois College graduating class.

He actually ran for President 3 times without success.  And he owned innate talent for oratory.  In 1896, for example, he gave 500 speeches in 27 states.

3. In a typical day, and this was before there were sound systems, he gave four hour-long speeches and shorter talks that added up to six hours of speaking.

He usually charged $500 per speech as well as a percentage of the profits.

For 25 years he was the most popular Chautauqua speaker.

From 1904 to 1906 he (and his wife Mary,) traveled and spoke internationally, sightseeing along the way.

He was one of the greatest speakers of his time and a hero to the common man.

4. “His dramatic speaking style and rhetoric roused the crowd to a frenzy.  Men and women screamed and waved their hats and canes.  Some divested themselves of their coats and flung them high in the air.”

Here’s one of his famous lines:  “I speak to you in defense of the cause of humanity.  The individual is  . . . born, he acts, he dies, but principles are eternal.”

{ 1 comment }

Jolly Roger Holman May 26, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Very inspiring story, Burt. Thanks for sharing it.
I’ll get it all figured out and get there,
hopefully soon.

Jolly Roger Holman

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