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William Jennings Bryan was born 3/19/1860, Salem, IL, to Silas Lillard & Mariah Elizabeth (Jennings) Bryan. Silas was a Scotch-Irish, Jacksonian Democrat serving the state senate & later as state circuit judge.  WJB was home schooled to age ten using the Bible & McGuffey Readers, then attended Whipple Academy, & Illinois College (valedictorian) & Union Law College, later part of Northwestern Univ. (Chicago).  Though he attended both a Methodist & a Baptist church in his youth he became a Presbyterian.    

While he prepared for his bar exam he taught high school. In this era he married Mary Elizabeth Baird (10/1/1884), who also became a lawyer (they had two children).  They soon moved to Lincoln, NE where Bryan began his life in politics being elected to the Fifty-second & Fifty-third Congresses (3/4/1891 & 3/3/1895).  He is said to have “electrified” the Democratic Convention (1896) with his speech “Cross of Gold” & was selected as their presidential nominee.  He also ran (unsuccessfully) in 1900 & 1908.

He was Secretary of State under Wilson serving 3/4/1913 – 6/9/1915.  Bryan true to his convictions resigned, disagreeing with Wilson going to war with Germany. Bryan’s defense of the Bible (Scope’s Monkey Trial) was not a show – he believed the Great Book.  Bryan College (Dayton, TN, site of the trial) was erected in his memory. NOTE: Don’t believe all you read about Bryan – his opposition to evolution was/is not popular & makes him a target for pseudo scientists (1Ti 6.20) as they worship “science.” 

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