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Icon or sketchON. WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN, of Lincoln, was born in Salem, Marion county, Illinois, March 19, 1860. He attended public school until fifteen years of age, spending his vacations on the farm. In the fall


of 1875 he entered Whipple Academy at Jacksonville, Illinois, and entered Illinois College in the same city in 1877. He completed the classical course and graduated with highest honors in 1881. For two years he attended Union College of Law, Chicago, during which time he was connected with the office of ex-Senator Lyman



Trumbull. He began the practice of his profession and removed to Lincoln in 1887, where he became a member of the firm of Talbot & Bryan. He never held political office prior to his election to the fifty-second congress. At the close of his first term he was re-elected. He began congressional life March 4, 1891, at the age of thirty, and was at once honored with a place on the committee on ways and means. He took an active part in the preparation of the celebrated Wilson tariff bill in the fifty-third congress, and was the author of the income tax law. His maiden speech was delivered in the house March 16, 1892, on the free wool bill, and from that time he was recognized as one of the advanced thinkers and speakers of the country. Mr. Bryan closed the debate on the income tax January 30, 1894, making such a popular impression that many thousand copies of that speech were circulated by the democratic congressional committee. On the 16th day of August, 1893, he delivered his famous speech against the unconditional repeal of the purchasing clause of the Sherman bill. This was by many members of congress and by the press of the country regarded as one of the highest among the brilliant oratorical efforts heard in congress in the last quarter of a century. His silver and tariff speeches have been widely circulated. The short speech delivered in opposition to "unconditional repeal," after the amended bill came back from the senate, foretold the events which have followed repeal, and serves to vindicate his judgment and to prove his keen insight into the financial condition of the country.
   Although defeated for the United States senate in 1895, he continued the leading exponent of the principle



of bimetallism, and the following year, at the age of thirty-six, he received the presidential nomination of the democratic party, and was subsequently nominated by the populist and free silver parties on a platform demanding the immediate and independent restoration of free coinage, being the youngest man who ever received a presidential nomination.
   The brilliant and aggressive campaign conducted by Mr. Bryan challenged the admiration of the world, and the energy and ability with which he forced upon the opposition the consideration of the vital question, the free and unlimited coinage of silver, making it the paramount issue in the campaign, marked him as a man of extraordinary intellectual force and power. His thorough honesty of purpose has been unquestioned, and no presidential candidate ever came out of an unsuccessful contest for the presidency enjoying more generally the respect, confidence, and admiration of the people. He stands to-day the leader of those who contend for an independent American financial policy, and has declared his determination to continue the fight until bimetallism shall have been restored.

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