Picture of William Jennings Bryan

Statement on the Aftermath of the Presidential Election

November 08, 1900

The result was a surprise to me, and the magnitude of the Republican victory was a surprise to our opponents as well as to those who voted our ticket. It is impossible to analyze the returns until they are more complete, but speaking generally we seem to have gained in the large cities and to have lost in the smaller cities and in the country.

The Republicans were able to secure tickets or passes for all their voters who were away from home, and this gave them considerable advantage. We have no way of knowing at this time how much money was spent in the purchase of votes and in colonization. But while these would account for some of the Republican gains, they could not account for the widespread increase in the Republican vote.

The prosperity argument was probably the most potent one used by the Republicans. They compared present conditions with the panic times of 1893 to 1896, and this argument had weight with those who did not stop to consider the reasons for the change. The appeal, "Stand by the President while the war is on," had a great deal of influence among those who did not realize that a war against a doctrine of self-government in the Philippines must react upon us in this country.

We made an honest fight upon an honest platform, and, having done our duty as we saw it, we have nothing to regret.

We are defeated, but not discouraged. The fight must go on. I am sure that Republican policies will be repudiated by the people when the tendency of these policies is fully understood. The contest between plutocracy and democracy cannot end until one or the other is completely triumphant.

I have come out of the campaign with perfect health and a clear conscience. I did my utmost to bring success to the principles for which I stood. Mr. Stevenson did all that he could: Senator Jones and the members of the Democratic, Populist, Silver Republican, and anti-imperialist committees did all they could. Mr. Hearst and his associates in the club organization put forth their best efforts. Our newspapers, our campaign speeches, and our local organizations all did their part. I have no fault to find and no reproaches.

I shall continue to take an active interest in politics as long as I live. I believe it to be the duty of citizens to do so, and in addition to my interest as a citizen I feel that it will require a lifetime of work to repay the political friends who have done so much for me.

I shall not be a Senatorial candidate before the Legislature which has been elected. Senator Allen deserves the Senatorship, which goes to the Populists. Mr. Hitchcock and Mr. W. H. Thompson are avowed candidates for the Senatorship. They both deserve well of the party, and I am too grateful to them for past support to stand in their way even in I desired a seat in the Senate.

Source: "Mr. Bryan's Statement," New York Times, November 9, 1900, p. 1.

William Jennings Bryan, Statement on the Aftermath of the Presidential Election Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/345947

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