W.J. Bryan's Tribute To McKinley
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
AT the death of President McKinley, Mr. Bryan said : " As monuments reared to the memory of heroes testify to the virtues of the living as well as to the services of the dead, so the sorrow that has overwhelmed our nation, obliterating distinctions of party, race, and religion, is complimentary to the patriotism of our people. While no recent campaigns have aroused deeper feeling than those through which President McKinley passed, yet in no contest did the minority more cheerfully acquiesce in the will of the majority as expressed at the polls. He was the President of the people, and their dignity and sovereignty were attacked when he was assaulted.' I rejoice that President McKinley's career so fully demonstrated the possibilities of American citizenship.
The young men of the country can find inspiration and encouragement in the fact that he made his own way from obscurity to fame, those who are nearing the boundary of life can find consolation and example in the superb manner in which he fought his final battle. Domestic happiness has never been better illustrated than in his life, and Christian faith and trust never better exemplified than in his death."
Political differences are suggested by analogy and grow out of the constitution of the human soul. Political parties pretty nearly balanced are necessary in a representative form of government, are necessary to the enactment and enforcement of the best laws. Evils, jealous and relentless, throng the path of our greatest blessings, and they have found their way into the avenues of political life. There has often been unnecessary bitterness, and wicked mis-representation in the campaign, and diabolical and perilous persecution and defamation of those whom we have called to represent us in the highest positions of state; and yet, underneath the strife and anger and misrepresentation and persecution there is the deep substratum of loyalty to our institutions and an acquiescence in the decision of a majority of the people. At the shot which killed President McKinley, the people of the country ceased to be partisans and became patriots. The tribute of Mr. Bryan to the political foe who had twice defeated him for the Presidency was as generous as it was just, and voices that splendid Americanism which is the measure of a healthful public conscience, and the prophecy of national perpetuity and happiness.