Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on William Jennings Bryan’s “Cross of Gold speech,” delivered to the audience at the 1896 national convention of the Democratic Party. Bryan is often used as a metaphor for the 19th-century American Populist movement–known as the People’s Party–and indeed the party nominated Bryan as its candidate in the 1896 presidential election.
The speech itself is both a representative ideological screed of populism, but also one of the classic pieces of American rhetoric. Bryan was a gasbag, so this speech is a stem-winder. As an illustration of certain tendencies in American political discourse, this speech is nonpareil.
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