Thursday, May 06, 2010

William Jennings Bryan

An evaluation:

Bryan has interested me tremendously as a study of a man without a brain. He had vast emotional qualities, quick, rather impromptu perception, but profoundly bad judgment on all public questions and on most private ones. He who had never thought in his life had the quality which makes other think. His discussion of the money question in '96 was vapid, emotional and erratic, but it did set people to thinking about the problem before the nation and that campaign was a good campaign to have been waged. I think one of the best campaigns I ever knew largely because Bryan put his heart into it and others put their heads into it and got a final truth out of the combination.
-William Allen White to James A. Troutman, December 31, 1925, in Walter Johnson, ed., Selected Letters of William Allen White, 1899-1943 (New York: Henry Holt, 1947), p. 252.

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