BRYAN, WILLIAM JENNINGS

A White House card signed by the three-time presidential candidate, best remembered for his role in arguing against evolution at the Scopes Monkey Trial

Item #19989


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BRYAN, WILLIAM JENNINGS - A White House card signed by the three-time presidential candidate, best remembered for his role in arguing against evolution at the Scopes Monkey Trial
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BRYAN, WILLIAM JENNINGS - A White House card signed by the three-time presidential candidate, best remembered for his role in arguing against evolution at the Scopes Monkey Trial

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BRYAN, WILLIAM JENNINGS.(1860-1925). American orator and politician. WHCS. (“W. J. Bryan”). 1p. 16mo. (Washington, D.C.), November 23, 1907. A White House card signed by the three-time presidential candidate, best remembered for his role in arguing against evolution at the Scopes Monkey Trial.

 

A lawyer and chair of the Nebraska’s Democratic Party, Bryan positioned himself as a populist and was elected to Congress in a landslide victory in 1890. A deeply religious man who opposed war and supported prohibition, Bryan ran for the presidency three times, and was defeated by William McKinley in 1896, Theodore Roosevelt in 1900 and William H. Taft in 1908. He later served as President Wilson’s secretary of state for two years. A gifted orator, Bryan traveled the lecture circuit for several decades speaking on theological subjects and against Darwin’s theory of evolution, going so far as to encourage states to prohibit its instruction. His activism reached its zenith when he stood against celebrated civil liberties attorneyClarence Darrow who the ACLU had engaged to challenge the constitutionality of the anti-evolution legislation. The Scopes Monkey Trial, which helped shape the evolution versus creationism debate that continues even to this day, was later dramatized in the play and film Inherit the Wind. Bryan died five days after the trial’s conclusion, succumbing to diabetes and exhaustion.

 

Bearing a broad, dark signature. With some light staining and in very good condition. Rare in this format.


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