publications

Bryan Still Popular in Nebraska in 1908

The U.S. presidential election of 1908 was not a close race. Popular incumbent President Theodore Roosevelt, honoring a promise not to seek a third term, chose William Howard Taft as his successor. The Democrats nominated William Jennings Bryan, who had been defeated in two previous contests for the presidency. Taft defeated Bryan in a landslide.

Despite the odds, Bryan campaigned aggressively and remained popular in Nebraska, even among political opponents. “Scotts Bluff county went democratic for once last Tuesday,” said the Gering Courier on June 5, 1908. “William Jennings Bryan was the guest of the county last Tuesday, being greeted at Scottsbluff by an enormous crowd, and at Gering by a very satisfactory turnout, . . . The crowd at Scottsbluff is estimated at from two to four thousand people. They came in from the east, west, north and south, and made a day of it, being well entertained in various ways.

“The speaking at Scottsbluff was in charge of Attorney Morrow, who first introduced Hon. A. F. Mullen of O’Neill, who has a congressional bee in his bonnet, and he was followed by Judge Edgar Howard, the spectacular editor of the Columbus Telegram, who likewise entertains congressional aspirations. Neither occupied very much time, realizing that they were small potatoes beside the democratic oracle, and Mr. Bryan spoke about one hour.

“As the Courier has frequently conceded and is willing to concede again, Mr. Bryan is a great man and a great speaker, but we truly believe that many people went away with much of the idolatry knocked out of their minds, some saying so frankly. But such ought to remember that Mr. Bryan is merely a human being after all, who has had a wonderful lot of advertising, and they ought to begin to learn that hero worship is usually a long-range product.

“If some believed that Mr. Bryan was not at his best Tuesday, we assure you that he was fully up to his standard as we have heard him on several occasions. He is smooth, witty and wordy, and has the knack of telling a good story so its application is easily apparent, but so far as any new subject matter or any startling pronouncements go, they were not there. Few of us have the brains or the speech sufficient to presume to enter into an argumentative discussion of the things Mr. Bryan said or left unsaid, but after it is all analyzed we think he said as much at Gering in five minutes as he did at the Bluffs in an hour.” 

 

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

Other Publications

The Bachelors’ Protective Union of Kearney

When the Bachelors' Protective Union gave a gala reception for two of its newly married, former members and their brides in March of 1890, the social club for young, ...

U.S. Weather Bureau in 1890s Nebraska

The U.S. Weather Bureau was established by an act of Congress on October 1, 1890. It took over the weather service that had been established in the office of the Chief ...

Canning the Way to Victory

During American participation in World War I the U.S. Food Administration, under the direction of Herbert Hoover, launched a massive campaign to persuade Americans to ...

The Shoemaker’s Ashes

"Edward Kuehl, one of the most peculiar characters that ever lived in Omaha, or anywhere else, was found dead in his bed last night in the back room of his place of ...

Crazy Horse Surrender Ledger Foreward

Red Dog, an Oglala Lakota who lived at the Red Cloud Agency, Nebraska, 1876-77 (Nebraska State Historical Society RG2955.ph).   In the summer of 1876, following the ...

Darryl F. Zanuck

Darryl F. Zanuck Darryl F. Zanuck (1902-1979), a native Nebraskan, produced some of Hollywood's most important and controversial films. He helped found 20th Century Fox ...

The Burlington’s Profitable Pork Special

Nebraska railroads were much concerned with developing an adequate economy in the areas they served. The Burlington, for example, had a long history of caring for the ...

Bungalow Filling Stations

After the giant Standard Oil Company was broken into thirty-four separate companies in 1911, the newly independent Standard Oil of Nebraska dominated the state's market ...

The Bull Fight

This is the perfect time of year for a visit to the old fishin' hole. But a group of fisherfolk from Plainview discovered that this bucolic pastime sometimes has ...

Buffalo Soldiers West

African-American soldiers on the western frontier are the focus of an exhibit at the Nebraska History Museum in Lincoln. Buffalo Soldiers West, on loan from the Colorado ...

Protection for Buffalo

The extermination of the buffalo on the Plains occurred largely between 1870 and 1885. The Nebraska State Journal of Lincoln on February 1, 1874, editorialized in vain ...

Buffalo Hunting

In late October 1877 young Rolf Johnson and three friends left their homes in Phelps County, Nebraska, for a buffalo hunt in northeastern Colorado. The hunt was not very ...
About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

History Nebraska Education

Learn more about the educational programs provided at our museums, sites, and online.

Education Digital Learning Resources

Find games, lists, and more to enhance your history education curriculum.

History Nebraska Programs

Learn more about the programs associated with History Nebraska.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast!

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

History Nebraska Services

Digital Resources

Find all of our digital resources, files, videos, and more, all in one easy-to-search page!

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.