We have entreated, and our entreaties have been disregarded. That will give you criticisms. Having behind us the commercial interests and the laboring interests and all the toiling masses, we shall answer their demands for a gold standard by saying to them, you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You come to us and tell us that the great cities are in favor of the gold standard; we reply that the great cities rest upon our broad and fertile prairies. Why, that man who used to boast that he looked like Napoleon, that man shudders today when he thinks that he was nominated on the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.
The Democratic idea, however, has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous, their prosperity will find its way up through every class which rests upon them. My friends, we declare that this nation is able to legislate for its own people on every question, without waiting for the aid or consent of any other nation on earth; and upon that issue we expect to carry every State in the Union. There you will find criticism. In 2006, she received the Lifetime Achievement Literary Award of the South African Literary Awards. Those who are opposed to this proposition tell us that the issue of paper money is a function of the bank, and that the government ought to go out of the banking business. In November he lost to the Republican candidate, William McKinley. The man who is employed for wages is as much a business man as his employer; the attorney in a country town is as much a business man as the corporation counsel in a great metropolis; the merchant at the cross-roads store is as much a business man as the merchant of New York; the farmer who goes forth in the morning and toils all day—who begins in the spring and toils all summer—and who by the application of brain and muscle to the natural resources of the country creates wealth, is as much a business man as the man who goes upon the board of trade and bets upon the price of grain; the miners who go down a thousand feet into the earth, or climb two thousand feet upon the cliffs, and bring forth from their hiding places the precious metals to be poured into the channels of trade are as much business men as the few financial magnates who, in a back room, corner the money of the world.
There are two ideas of government. They can find where the holders of fixed investments have declared for a gold standard, but not where the masses have. It is for these people that we speak. While a member of the Committee on Resolutions, I was prevented from attending the first sessions of the committee owing to our contest, and was not a member of the subcommittee which drafted the platform. And they had good reason for their doubt, because there is scarcely a State here today asking for the gold standard which is not in the absolute control of the Republican party.
The gentleman from Wisconsin has said that he fears a Robespierre. . The sympathies of the Democratic party, as shown by the platform, are on the side of the struggling masses who have ever been the foundation of the Democratic party. My friends, we have not criticized; we have simply called attention to what you already know. The attorney in a country town is as much a businessman as the corporation counsel in a great metropolis.
I say it was not a question of persons; it was a question of principle, and it is not with gladness, my friends, that we find ourselves brought into conflict with those who are now arrayed on the other side. It is because no private character, however pure, no personal popularity, however great, can protect from the avenging wrath of an indignant people the man who will either declare that he is in favor of fastening the gold standard upon this people, or who is willing to surrender the right of self-government and place legislative control in the hands of foreign potentates and powers. President Abraham Lincoln issued greenbacks, or paper money, during the Civil War. We have petitioned, and our petitions have been scorned; we have entreated, and our entreaties have been disregarded; we have begged, and they have mocked when our calamity came. If they ask us here why it is we say more on the money question than we say upon the tariff question, I reply that if protection has slain its thousands the gold standard has slain its tens of thousands. That is the question which the party must answer first, and then it must be answered by each individual hereafter. I stand with Jefferson, rather than with them, and tell them, as he did that the issue of money is a function of government, and that the banks ought to go out of the governing business.
Throughout his career, his Midwestern roots clearly identified him with agrarian interests, in opposition to those of the urban East. They can find where the holders of fixed investments have. Benton said that Cicero only did for Rome what Jackson did for us when he destroyed the bank conspiracy and saved America. We believe that it is a part of sovereignty, and can no more with safety be delegated to private individuals than we could afford to delegate to private individuals the power to make penal statutes or levy taxes. We do not come as aggressors.
If they dare to come out in the open field and defend the gold standard as a good thing, we will fight them to the uttermost. We beg no longer; we entreat no more; we petition no more. Let me remind you that there is no intention of affecting those contracts which according to present laws are made payable in gold; but if he means to say that we cannot change our monetary system without protecting those who have loaned money before the change was made, I desire to ask him where, in law or in morals, he can find justification for not protecting the debtors when the act of 1873 was passed, if he now insists that we must protect the creditors. If the gold standard is a good thing, why try to get rid of it? We beg no longer; we entreat no more; we petition no more. Thus has the contest been waged, and we have assembled here under as binding and solemn instructions as were ever fastened upon the representatives of a people.
Gold would still be more valuable than silver, and the amount of silver to gold would be a 16:1 ratio. I tell you that the great cities rest upon these broad and fertile prairies. Never before in the history of this country has there been witnessed such a contest as that through which we have just passed. Neither you, nor the coeditors you shared it with will be able to recover it again. And now, my friends, let me come to the paramount issue. Bryan lost to McKinley again in and to in.
Because upon the paramount issue of this campaign there is not a spot of ground upon which the enemy will dare to challenge battle. Repetition We have petitioned, and our petitions have been scorned; we have entreated, and our entreaties have been disregarded; we have begged, and they have mocked when our calamity came. No private character, however pure, no personal popularity, however great, can protect from the avenging wrath of an indignant people a man who will declare that he is in favor of fastening the gold standard upon this country, or who is willing to surrender the right of self-government and place the legislative control of our affairs in the hands of foreign potentates and powers. Having behind us the commercial interests and the laboring interests and all the toiling masses, we shall answer their demands for a gold standard by saying to them, you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. I ask him, if he would apply his logic to us, why he does not apply it to himself. Over the years, he repeated this speech many times and even had it recorded in 1921.