1896 Democratic National Convention

The 1896 Democratic National Convention, held at the Chicago Coliseum from July 7 to July 11, was the scene of William Jennings Bryan's nomination as the Democratic presidential candidate for the 1896 U.S. presidential election.

At age 36, Bryan was the youngest Presidential nominee in American history, only one year older than the constitutional minimum. 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. This was a repudiation of Cleveland administration's policy, but proved popular with the delegates to the convention.

Bryan secured the nomination on the fifth ballot over Richard P. Bland. Bryan declined to choose a Democratic vice presidential nominee, leaving the choice to his fellow delegates. Arthur Sewall of Maine was nominated on the fifth ballot. Bryan and Sewall ultimately lost to the Republican candidates, William McKinley and Garret Hobart.

1896 Democratic National Convention
1896 presidential election
Bryan and Sewall
Date(s)July 7–11, 1896
CityChicago, Illinois
VenueChicago Coliseum
Presidential nomineeWilliam J. Bryan of Nebraska
Vice Presidential nomineeArthur Sewall of Maine
Chicago Coliseum (Officialproceedi1896demo 0020) (cropped)
The convention was held at the Chicago Coliseum
Officialproceedi1896demo 0021
Seating arrangement for delegates at the convention
1896 DNC (2)
1896 DNC (3)

Silver in control

For three years the nation had been mired in a deep economic depression, marked by low prices, low profits, high unemployment, and violent strikes. Economic issues, especially silver or gold for the money supply, and tariffs, were central. 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. Opposed to him were the agrarian and silver factions based in the South and West, which had been empowered after the Panic of 1893.[1]

A two-thirds vote was required for the Democratic Party nomination and at the convention the silverites just barely had it despite the extreme regional polarization of the delegates. In a test vote on an anti-silver measure, the Eastern states (from Maryland to Maine), with 28% of the delegates voted 96% for gold. The delegates from the rest of the country voted 91% against gold, so the silverites controlled 67% of the delegates.[2]

Bryan moves up

Bryan had an innate talent at oratory. He gave speeches, organized meetings, and adopted resounding resolutions that eventually culminated in the founding of the American Bimetallic League, which then evolved into the National Bimetallic Union, and finally the National Silver Committee.[3] At the time many inflationist farmers believed that by increasing the amount of currency in circulation, the crops they grew would receive higher prices. They were opposed by banks and bond holders who feared inflation, and by urban workers who feared inflation would further erode their purchasing power. The ultimate goal of the League was to garner support on a national level for the reinstatement of the coinage of silver.[4]

With others, he made certain that the Democratic platform reflected the now strengthening spirit of the silverites. With his support, Charles H. Jones, of the St Louis Post-Dispatch, was put on the platform committee and Bryan's plank for free silver was adopted sixteen to one and silently added to the Chicago Democratic Platform, in order to avoid controversy.[5] As a minority member of the resolutions committee, Bryan was able to push the Democratic Party from its laissez-faire and small government roots towards its modern, liberal character. Through these measures, the public and influential Democrats became convinced of his capacity to lead and bring change, resulting in his being mentioned as a possible chairman for the Chicago convention. Bryan delivered speeches across the country for free silver from 1894 to 1896, building a grass-roots reputation as a powerful champion of the cause.

At the 1896 convention, Bryan lambasted Eastern moneyed classes for supporting the gold standard at the expense of the average worker. His "Cross of Gold" speech made him the sensational new face in the Democratic party. At the start of the convention, former Missouri Congressman Richard P. Bland, a strong supporter of bimetallism, was viewed as the favorite.[6] However, Bland was strongly opposed by many in the South, in part because his wife and daughter were Catholics.[6] Some bimetallist supporters tried to draft Republican Senator Henry M. Teller of Colorado, but his candidacy never got off the ground.[7]

Several state delegations, mostly from the Northeast, supported the gold standard and refused to take part in the nomination process.[7] Many conservative Democrats looked to former Senator David B. Hill of New York or Governor William Russell of Massachusetts for leadership, but Russell was in poor health and Hill did not gain support for a presidential bid.[8] Eight names were placed in nomination: Richard P. Bland, William J. Bryan, Claude Matthews, Horace Boies, Joseph Blackburn, John R. McLean, Robert E. Pattison, and Sylvester Pennoyer. The only major candidate that did support the gold standard was former Pennsylvania Governor Pattison.[7] After five ballots, Bryan triumphed over Bland and Pattison.[7] Bryan was also nominated for president by the Populist Party and the Silver Republican Party.

Presidential nomination

Presidential candidates


Former Representative Richard P. Bland of Missouri


Not Nominated

(1-5) Presidential Ballot
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Unanimous
William J. Bryan 137 197 219 280 652 930
Richard P. Bland 235 281 291 241 11
Robert E. Pattison 97 100 97 97 95
Joseph Blackburn 82 41 27 27 0
Horace Boies 67 37 36 33 0
John R. McLean 54 53 54 46 0
Claude Matthews 37 34 34 36 0
Benjamin Tillman 17 0 0 0 0
Adlai E. Stevenson 6 10 9 8 8
Sylvester Pennoyer 8 8 0 0 0
Henry M. Teller 8 8 0 0 0
William E. Russell 2 0 0 0 0
David B. Hill 1 1 1 1 1
James E. Campbell 1 0 0 0 0
David Turpie 0 0 0 0 1
Blank 178 160 162 161 162
1st Presidential Ballot
2nd Presidential Ballot
3rd Presidential Ballot
4th Presidential Ballot
5th Presidential Ballot

Vice presidential nomination

After the selection of Bryan, the convention turned its attention to picking a running mate.[7] Newspaper publisher John Roll McLean of Ohio was viewed as a possible candidate, in part because his fortune could help fund the ticket.[7] Former Congressman George F. Williams of Massachusetts, businessman Arthur Sewall of Maine, and former Attorney General Augustus Hill Garland of Arkansas were all mentioned as possible candidates.[7]

Eight names were placed in nomination: Arthur Sewall, John R. McLean, Joseph C. Sibley, George F. Williams, Walter Clark, J. Hamilton Lewis, George W. Fithian, and Sylvester Pennoyer.[9] After being placed in nomination, McLean, Sibley, and Fithian made it known to the convention that they were not candidates for the vice presidency. Sewall ultimately received the nomination on the fifth ballot. The Populist Party and the Silver Republican Party also both nominated Bryan for president, but the Populists nominated former Georgia Congressman Thomas E. Watson instead of Sewell.

Vice presidential candidates



Former Representative Richard P. Bland of Missouri

(1-5) Vice Presidential Ballot
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Unanimous
Arthur Sewall 100 37 97 261 568 930
John R. McLean 111 158 210 298 32
Richard P. Bland 62 294 255 0 0
Joseph C. Sibley 163 113 50 0 0
George F. Williams 76 16 15 9 9
John W. Daniel 11 0 6 54 36
Walter Clark 50 22 22 46 22
James R. Williams 22 13 0 0 0
William F. Harrity 19 21 19 11 11
Joseph Blackburn 20 0 0 0 0
Horace Boies 20 0 0 0 0
J. Hamilton Lewis 11 0 0 0 0
Robert E. Pattison 2 1 1 1 1
George W. Fithian 1 0 0 0 0
Henry M. Teller 1 0 0 0 0
Stephen M. White 1 0 0 0 0
Blank 260 255 255 250 251
1st Presidential Ballot
2nd Presidential Ballot
3rd Presidential Ballot
4th Presidential Ballot
5th Presidential Ballot

See also


  1. ^ Stanley L. Jones (1964). The presidential election of 1896. U. of Wisconsin Press. pp. 212–43.
  2. ^ Walter Dean Burnham, "The System of 1896: An Analysis," in Paul Kleppner et al., The Evolution of American Electoral Systems (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1981), 147—202 at pp 158-60
  3. ^ Paulo E. Coletta, William Jennings Bryan: Volume I, Political Evangelist, 1860-1908, (1964) p. 107.
  4. ^ Paxton Hibben, The Peerless Leader, William Jennings Bryan (1929), 175.
  5. ^ Hibben, The Peerless Leader, William Jennings Bryan p 184.
  6. ^ a b "The Silver Fanatics are Invincible". New York Times. 7 June 1896. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "Bryan, Free Silver, and Repudiation". New York Times. 11 July 1896. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  8. ^ Weisman, Steven R. (2002). The Great Tax Wars: Lincoln to Wilson-The Fierce Battles over Money That Transformed the Nation. Simon & Schuster. pp. 167–168. ISBN 0-684-85068-0.
  9. ^ "Official proceedings of the Democratic national convention held in Chicago, Ill., July 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th, 1896."; pg. 350 [1]

External links

Preceded by
Chicago, Illinois
Democratic National Conventions Succeeded by
Kansas City, Missouri
1896 United States presidential election

The United States presidential election of 1896 was the 28th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 3, 1896. Former Governor William McKinley, the Republican candidate, defeated Democrat William Jennings Bryan. The 1896 campaign, which took place during an economic depression known as the Panic of 1893, was a realigning election that ended the old Third Party System and began the Fourth Party System.Incumbent Democratic President Grover Cleveland did not seek election to a second consecutive term, leaving the Democratic nomination open. 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. The 1896 Democratic National Convention repudiated the Cleveland administration and nominated Bryan on the fifth presidential ballot. Bryan then won the nomination of the Populist Party, which had won several states in 1892 and shared many of Bryan's policies. In opposition to Bryan, some conservative Bourbon Democrats formed the National Democratic Party and nominated Senator John M. Palmer. McKinley prevailed by a wide margin on the first ballot of the 1896 Republican National Convention.

Since the onset of the Panic of 1893, the nation had been mired in a deep economic depression, marked by low prices, low profits, high unemployment, and violent strikes. Economic issues, especially tariff policy and the question of whether the gold standard should be preserved for the money supply, were central issues. McKinley forged a conservative coalition in which businessmen, professionals, and prosperous farmers, and skilled factory workers turned off by Bryan's agrarian policies were heavily represented. McKinley was strongest in cities and in the Northeast, Upper Midwest, and Pacific Coast. Republican campaign manager Mark Hanna pioneered many modern campaign techniques, facilitated by a $3.5 million budget. Bryan presented his campaign as a crusade of the working man against the rich, who impoverished America by limiting the money supply. Silver, he said, was in ample supply and if coined into money would restore prosperity while undermining the illicit power of the money trust. Bryan was strongest in the South, rural Midwest, and Rocky Mountain states. Bryan's moralistic rhetoric and crusade for inflation (to be generated by the institution of bimetallism) alienated conservatives.

Bryan campaigned vigorously throughout the swing states of the Midwest, while McKinley conducted a "front porch" campaign. At the end of an intensely heated contest, McKinley won a majority of the popular and electoral vote. Bryan won 46.7% of the popular vote, while Palmer won just under 1% of the vote. Turnout was very high, passing 90% of the eligible voters in many places. The Democratic Party's repudiation of its Bourbon faction largely gave Bryan and his supporters control of the Democratic Party until the 1920s, and set the stage for Republican domination of the Fourth Party System.

1897 Boston mayoral election

The Boston mayoral election of 1897 occurred on Tuesday, December 21, 1897. Democratic candidate and incumbent Mayor of Boston Josiah Quincy defeated Republican candidate and former mayor Edwin Upton Curtis, and two other contenders, to win re-election to a second term.Inaugural exercises were held on Monday, January 3, 1898.

Chicago Coliseum

The Chicago Coliseums were three large indoor arenas in Chicago, Illinois, which stood successively from the 1860s to 1982; they served as venues for sports events, large (national-class) conventions and as exhibition halls. The first Coliseum stood at State and Washington streets in Chicago's downtown in the late 1860s. The second, at 63rd Street near Stony Island Avenue in the south side's Woodlawn community, hosted the 1896 Democratic National Convention. The third Chicago Coliseum was located at 15th Street and Wabash Avenue on the near south side; it hosted five consecutive Republican National Conventions, (1904, 1908, 1912, 1916, 1920) and the Progressive Party National Convention in 1912 and 1916. In the 1960s and early 1970s it served as a general admission venue for rock concerts, roller derbys and professional wrestling matches; it closed in 1971 and was sold for redevelopment in 1982, however portions of the building remained standing until the early 1990s.

Claude Matthews

Claude Matthews (December 14, 1845 – August 28, 1898) was the 23rd governor of the U.S. state of Indiana from 1893 to 1897. A farmer, he was nominated to prevent the loss of voters to the Populist Party. The Panic of 1893 occurred just before he took office, leading to severe economic problems during his term. Republicans took the Indiana General Assembly in the 1894 mid-term election and repudiated many of the Democrats' laws, leading to violence in the assembly. A popular party figure when he left office, he was a nominee to run for president at the 1896 Democratic National Convention, but lost his bid for the nomination to William Jennings Bryan.

Cross of Gold speech

The Cross of Gold speech was delivered by William Jennings Bryan, a former United States Representative from Nebraska, at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago on July 9, 1896. In the address, Bryan supported bimetallism or "free silver", which he believed would bring the nation prosperity. He decried the gold standard, concluding the speech, "you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold". Bryan's address helped catapult him to the Democratic Party's presidential nomination; it is considered one of the greatest political speeches in American history.

For twenty years, Americans had been bitterly divided over the nation's monetary standard. The gold standard, which the United States had effectively been on since 1873, limited the money supply but eased trade with other nations, such as the United Kingdom, whose currency was also based on gold. Many Americans, however, believed that bimetallism (making both gold and silver legal tender) was necessary for the nation's economic health. The financial Panic of 1893 intensified the debates, and when Democratic President Grover Cleveland continued to support the gold standard against the will of much of his party, activists became determined to take over the Democratic Party organization and nominate a silver-supporting candidate in 1896.

Bryan had been a dark horse candidate with little support in the convention. His speech, delivered at the close of the debate on the party platform, electrified the convention and is generally credited with getting him the nomination for president. However, he lost the general election to William McKinley and the United States formally adopted the gold standard in 1900.

Dark horse

A dark horse is a little known person or thing that emerges to prominence, especially in a competition of some sort, or a contestant that seems unlikely to succeed.

Edgar Howard

Edgar Howard (September 16, 1858 – July 19, 1951) was a Nebraska editor and Democratic politician. He was the 15th Lieutenant Governor of Nebraska and served six terms in the United States House of Representatives.

Ferdinand Brucker

Ferdinand Brucker (January 8, 1858 – March 3, 1904) was a politician from the U.S. state of Michigan.

Brucker was born in Bridgeport, Michigan, where he attended the common schools. He was a member of the State militia 1878-1881. He graduated from the law department of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1881, was admitted to the bar the same year, and commenced practice in Saginaw. He was an alderman of East Saginaw, 1882–1884, a judge of the probate court of Saginaw County, 1888–1896, and a delegate to the 1896 Democratic National Convention.

Brucker was elected as a Democrat from Michigan's 8th congressional district to the 55th Congress, serving from March 4, 1897 to March 3, 1899. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1898, losing to Joseph W. Fordney.

After leaving Congress, Ferdinand Brucker resumed the practice of law. He died in Saginaw and is interred in Bridgeport Cemetery in Bridgeport. His son, Wilber M. Brucker, later served as Governor of Michigan from 1931 to 1932.

George G. Gilbert

George Gilmore Gilbert (December 24, 1849 – November 9, 1909) was a U.S. Representative from Kentucky, father of Ralph Waldo Emerson Gilbert.

Born in Taylorsville, Kentucky, Gilbert attended the common schools, Cecilian College in 1868 and 1869, and Lyndland Institute in Kentucky.

He taught school.

He was graduated from the law department of the University of Louisville in 1873.

He was admitted to the bar and began practice in Taylorsville, Kentucky, in 1874.

He served as prosecuting attorney of Spencer County 1876-1880.

He served as member of the State senate 1885-1889.

He served as delegate to the 1896 Democratic National Convention.

Gilbert was elected as a Democrat to the Fifty-sixth and to the three succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1899 – March 3, 1907).

He was not a candidate for reelection.

He resumed the practice of law.

He died in Louisville, Kentucky, November 9, 1909.

He was interred in Cave Hill Cemetery.

Hosea H. Rockwell

Hosea Hunt Rockwell (May 31, 1840 – December 18, 1918) was a U.S. Representative from New York.

Born in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, Rockwell attended the common schools.

He served as a private in the Twenty-third Regiment, New York Volunteers, in 1861 and 1862.

He studied law.

He was admitted to the bar in 1869 and commenced practice in Elmira, New York.

He was a member of the New York State Assembly (Chemung Co.) in 1877.

City attorney of Elmira.

Rockwell was elected as a Democrat to the 52nd United States Congress, holding office from March 4, 1891, to March 3, 1893.

He served as delegate to the 1896 Democratic National Convention.

He served as chairman of the Democratic State convention in 1896.

He resumed the practice of law in Elmira, New York.

He died in Elmira, New York, December 18, 1918.

He was interred in Woodlawn Cemetery.

John Crawford Crosby

John Crawford Crosby (June 15, 1859 – October 14, 1943) was an American politician from the U.S. state of Massachusetts.

Crosby was born in Sheffield, Massachusetts. He attended the public schools of Pittsfield and graduated from Eastman Business College in Poughkeepsie, New York and from Boston University School of Law in Boston.

Crosby was admitted to the bar in 1882 and began practice in Pittsfield. He began his political career as a member of the school committee of Pittsfield from 1884 to 1890. During the later part of his service on the school committee, Crosby also served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives (1886–1887) and the Massachusetts Senate (1888–1889).

Crosby served as the director of a bank and later of fire and life insurance companies. He was elected in the 1890 election as a Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Massachusetts's 12th district for the 52nd United States Congress (1891-03-04 to 1893-03-03).

Crosby lost his campaign for reelection in the 1892 election. He was elected Mayor of Pittsfield, serving from 1894 to 1895, and was a delegate to the 1896 Democratic National Convention.

Crosby was city solicitor from 1896 to 1900 and appointed a justice of the superior court on January 25, 1905, serving until December 31, 1913, when he was appointed justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Crosby served on the court until his retirement on October 1, 1937. He died in Pittsfield on October 14, 1943, and was interred at Pittsfield Cemetery.

Moses J. Wentworth

Moses J. Wentworth was an American lawyer and politician from Chicago, Illinois who served as a member of the 29th Illinois General Assembly, in the Illinois House of Representatives, from the 1st district. He was elected as a member of the short-lived Illinois Opposition Party. While in the Illinois General Assembly, he introduced the successful statute which required compulsory school attendance in Illinois.By 1896 he was associated with the Democratic Party, and was a gold Democrat delegate to the 1896 Democratic National Convention.He was the nephew of "Long John" Wentworth, mayor of Chicago, and handled his uncle's business affairs and estate.

People's Party (United States)

The People's Party (also known as the Populist Party or the Populists) was an agrarian political party in the United States. The Populist Party emerged in the early 1890s as an important force in the Southern United States and the Western United States, but the party collapsed after it nominated Democrat William Jennings Bryan in the 1896 United States presidential election. A rump faction of the party continued to operate into the first decade of the 20th century, but never matched the popularity of the party in the early 1890s.

The roots of the Populist Party lay in Farmers' Alliance, an agrarian movement that promoted collective economic action by farmers, as well as the Greenback Party, an earlier third party that had advocated for fiat money. The success of Farmers' Alliance candidates in the 1890 United States elections, along with the conservatism of both major parties, encouraged leaders of the Farmers' Alliance to establish a full-fledged third party prior to the 1892 United States elections. The Ocala Demands laid out the Populist platform, calling for collective bargaining, federal regulation of railroad rates, an expansionary monetary policy, and a Sub-Treasury Plan that required the establishment of federally-controlled warehouses to aid farmers. Other Populist-endorsed measures included bimetallism, a graduated income tax, direct election of Senators, a shorter workweek, and the establishment of a postal savings system. These measures were collectively designed to curb the influence of corporate and financial interests and empower small farmers and laborers.

In the 1892 presidential election, the Populist ticket of James B. Weaver and James G. Field won 8.5 percent of the national popular vote and carried four Western states, becoming the first third party since the end of the American Civil War to win electoral votes. Despite the support of labor organizers like Eugene V. Debs and Terence V. Powderly, the party largely failed to win the vote of urban laborers in the Midwest and the Northeast. Over the next four years, the party continued to run state and federal candidates, building up powerful organizations in several Southern and Western states. Prior to the 1896 presidential election, the Populists became increasingly polarized between "fusionists," who wanted to nominate a joint presidential ticket with the Democratic Party, and "mid-roaders," who favored the continuation of the Populists as an independent third party. After the 1896 Democratic National Convention nominated Bryan, a prominent bimetallist, the Populists nominated Bryan but rejected the Democratic vice presidential nominee in favor of party leader Thomas E. Watson. In the 1896 election, Bryan won much of the South and West, but was defeated by Republican William McKinley.

After the 1896 presidential election, the Populist Party suffered a nationwide collapse. The party nominated presidential candidates in the three presidential elections following 1896, but none of those candidates came close to matching Weaver's performance in the 1892 election. Former Populist voters joined the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, and the Socialist Party, but other than Debs and Bryan, few politicians associated with the Populists retained national prominence. Historians see the Populists as a reaction to the power of corporate interests in the Gilded Age, but they debate the degree to which the Populists were anti-modern and nativist. Scholars also continue to debate the influence of the Populists on later organizations and movements such as the progressives of the early 20th century, New Deal liberals, and right-wing Republicans like Joseph McCarthy. In the United States, the term "populist" was originally associated with the Populist Party and related left-wing movements, but in the 1950s it began to take on a more generic meaning that describes any anti-establishment movement regardless of its position on the left–right political spectrum.

Richard Bensel

Richard Franklin Bensel (born 1949) is a professor of American politics at Cornell University. Bensel has attempted to bridge the gap between American economic and political history, with an eye toward comparative implications. Bensel is best known as a scholar of political economy. His most recent work, Passions and Preferences: William Jennings Bryan and the 1896 Democratic National Convention (Cambridge University Press, 2008), attempts to bring American political development into a conversation with rational choice theory.

Richard P. Bland

Richard Parks Bland (August 19, 1835 – June 15, 1899) was an American politician, lawyer, and educator from Missouri. A Democrat, Bland served in the United States House of Representatives from 1873 to 1895 and from 1897 to 1899,

representing at various times the Missouri 5th, 8th and 11th congressional districts. Nicknamed "Silver Dick" for his efforts to promote bimetallism, Bland is best known for the Bland–Allison Act.

Born in Kentucky, he established a legal practice in Utah Territory after working as a miner and schoolteacher. He served as the treasurer of Carson County from 1860 to 1864 during the peak years of the Comstock Lode mining rush. He settled in Missouri in 1865 and established a legal practice in Lebanon, Missouri. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1872 and quickly established himself as a leading advocate of the free silver movement. He sponsored the Bland-Allison Act, which required the United States Department of the Treasury to buy a certain amount of silver and put it into circulation as silver dollars. He also established himself as an anti-imperialist. Bland lost re-election in the 1894 election but won his seat back in 1896.

Bland was a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1896, though he expressed reluctance about running for president. His marriage to a Catholic woman engendered opposition from the anti-Catholic elements of the party. Bland received the most votes on the first three ballots of the 1896 Democratic National Convention, but not enough to win the necessary majority. William Jennings Bryan, who also favored bimetallism, won the Democratic nomination on the fifth ballot and went on to lose to Republican William McKinley in the 1896 presidential election. After the convention, Bland served in the House from 1897 to his death in 1899.

Thomas A. E. Weadock

Thomas Addis Emmet Weadock (January 1, 1850 – November 18, 1938) was a judge and politician from the U.S. state of Michigan.

Weadock was born in Ballygarret, County Wexford, Ireland and immigrated to the United States in infancy with his parents, Lewis Weadock and Mary (Cullen) Weadock, who settled on a farm near St. Marys, Ohio. He was educated in the common schools and the Union School at St. Marys, and taught school in the counties of Auglaize, Shelby, and Miami for five years. His brother, George W. Weadock, was a mayor of Saginaw and the father and grandfather of state senators.

Weadock graduated from the law department of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in March 1873 and was admitted to the bar the same year commencing practice in Bay City. The following year, he married Mary E. Tarsney a sister of two U.S. Representatives: Timothy E. Tarsney of Michigan and John Charles Tarsney of Missouri.

Weadock served in the State militia 1874-1877; was prosecuting attorney of Bay County in 1877 and 1878; chairman of the Democratic State conventions in 1883 and 1894; mayor of Bay City 1883-1885; and member of the board of education of Bay City in 1884. His first wife, Mary, died in 1889. He would later marry Nannie E. Curtiss, who died in 1827.

In 1890, Weadock was elected as a Democrat from Michigan's 10th congressional district to the 52nd Congress and was re-elected in 1892 to the 53rd Congress, serving from March 4, 1891 to March 3, 1895. He was chairman of the Committee on Mines and Mining during the 53rd Congress. He declined to be a candidate for reelection in 1894, but was a delegate at large to the 1896 Democratic National Convention.

After leaving Congress, Weadock resumed the practice of law in Bay City, and later moved to Detroit continuing to practice. He was an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for judge of the Michigan Supreme Court in 1904. Eight years later, he was appointed a professor of law in the University of Detroit in 1912. His second wife, Nannie, died in 1927. Six years later in 1933, he was appointed an associate justice of the state supreme court.

Thomas A. E. Weadock was also a member of the American Bar Association and the Ancient Order of Hibernians. He died in Detroit at the age of eighty-eight and is interred in St. Patrick's Cemetery of Bay City.

Wilfred D. Turner

Wilfred Dent Turner (January 30, 1855 – November 8, 1933) was the ninth Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina from 1901 to 1905 serving under Governor Charles B. Aycock. He was born in Turnersburg, North Carolina (near Statesville). He attended Duke University, Class of 1876, and was a member of the Chi Phi Fraternity.A Democrat, Turner was elected to the North Carolina Senate in 1886, 1888 and 1890 from Iredell County. He was President pro tempore of the North Carolina Senate in 1891. Turner also served as the president of the Monbo Cotton Manufacturing Company.Turner was also a delegate to the 1896 Democratic National Convention. He died at the age of 78 in 1933 after a short illness.

William Jennings Bryan

William Jennings Bryan (March 19, 1860 – July 26, 1925) was an American orator and politician from Nebraska. Beginning in 1896, he emerged as a dominant force in the Democratic Party, standing three times as the party's nominee for President of the United States. He also served in the United States House of Representatives and as the United States Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson. Just before his death he gained national attention for attacking the teaching of evolution in the Scopes Trial. Because of his faith in the wisdom of the common people, he was often called "The Great Commoner".Born and raised in Illinois, Bryan moved to Nebraska in the 1880s. He won election to the House of Representatives in the 1890 elections, serving two terms before making an unsuccessful run for the Senate in 1894. 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. Subsequently, Bryan was also nominated for president by the left-wing Populist Party, and many Populists would eventually follow Bryan into the Democratic Party. In the intensely fought 1896 presidential election, Republican nominee William McKinley emerged triumphant. Bryan gained fame as an orator as he invented the national stumping tour when he reached an audience of 5 million people in 27 states in 1896.

Bryan retained control of the Democratic Party and won the presidential nomination again in 1900. In the aftermath of the Spanish–American War, Bryan became a fierce opponent of American imperialism, and much of the campaign centered on that issue. In the election, McKinley again defeated Bryan, winning several Western states that Bryan had won in 1896. Bryan's influence in the party weakened after the 1900 election, and the Democrats nominated the conservative Alton B. Parker in the 1904 presidential election. Bryan regained his stature in the party after Parker's resounding defeat by Theodore Roosevelt, and voters from both parties increasingly embraced the progressive reforms that had long been championed by Bryan. Bryan won his party's nomination in the 1908 presidential election, but he was defeated by Roosevelt's chosen successor, William Howard Taft. Along with Henry Clay, Bryan is one of only two individuals who while running for President received electoral votes in three separate presidential elections but never won a presidential election. The 493 cumulative electoral votes cast for Bryan in those three elections are the most received by a presidential candidate never elected.

After the Democrats won the presidency in the 1912 election, Woodrow Wilson rewarded Bryan's support with the important cabinet position of Secretary of State. Bryan helped Wilson pass several progressive reforms through Congress, but he and Wilson clashed over U.S. neutrality in World War I. Bryan resigned from his post in 1915 after Wilson sent Germany a note of protest in response to the sinking of Lusitania by a German U-boat. After leaving office, Bryan retained some of his influence within the Democratic Party, but he increasingly devoted himself to religious matters and anti-evolution activism. He opposed Darwinism on religious and humanitarian grounds, most famously in the 1925 Scopes Trial. Since his death in 1925, Bryan has elicited mixed reactions from various commentators, but he is widely considered to have been one of the most influential figures of the Progressive Era.

William Russell (governor)

William Eustis Russell (January 6, 1857 – July 16, 1896) was a lawyer and Democratic Party politician from Massachusetts. He served four terms as mayor of Cambridge, and was the 37th Governor of Massachusetts, serving from 1891 to 1894. He was the state's youngest ever chief executive, and was the first Democrat since the American Civil War to serve more than one term in that office.

Educated at Harvard and Boston University Law School, Russell practiced law in the family firm. He was politically a conservative Democrat, supporting the presidential campaigns of Grover Cleveland and the gold standard for the national currency. He gave a speech in favor of the latter at the 1896 Democratic National Convention immediately prior to William Jennings Bryan's Cross of Gold speech, and refused efforts to draft him as an opponent to Bryan for the Presidential nomination. About a week later, he died quite suddenly at a fishing camp in Quebec; he was 39. He was viewed by eastern Democrats as a future party leader and presidential contender.

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