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Cross of Gold speech
William Jennings Bryan carried on the shoulders of delegates after giving the speech.
William Jennings Bryan carried on the shoulders of delegates after giving the speech.
Date July 9, 1896
Time 2:00 pm
Location Chicago, Illinois
Outcome Bryan nominated for president by the Democrats

The "Cross of Gold speech" was delivered by William Jennings Bryan, a former congressman from Nebraska, at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago on July 9, 1896. In his speech, Bryan supported the gold standard. Bryan's address, which helped catapult him to the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, is considered one of the great political addresses 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 international trade with other nations, such as the United Kingdom, whose currency was also based on gold. However, many Americans believed making both gold and silver legal tender would bring prosperity to the country.

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.

It was his goal to create inflation to help those in debt. The end of the speech gives it its name when he says;

Having behind us the producing masses of this nation and the world, supported by the commercial interests, the laboring interests and the toilers everywhere, we will answer their demand for a gold standard by saying to them: You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.

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