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Bryan, William Jennings

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A political leader of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Bryan, claiming to be the candidate of the ordinary American, lost three presidential elections as the nominee of the Democratic party, although he gathered substantial votes in the South and West. At the 1896 Democratic national convention, he delivered the much-remembered “Cross of Gold” speech in favor of unlimited coinage of silver and against the gold standard. A fundamentalist in religion, Bryan opposed the teaching of the theory of evolution in schools and assisted in the prosecution at the Scopes trial.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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