September 07, 2017

Hope I die before I get old… then I can sleep when I’m dead…

  
The date September 7 has an ironic link to two famous rock music quotes associated with the deaths of two of rock’s most legendary bad boys.

On September 7, 1978, Keith Moon — the great, drum-kit-destroying drummer for the British band the Who — died of a drug overdose at age 31.

One of the Who’s first big hits, released in 1965, was “My Generation.”

That song includes a line that is well known and often cited by rock fans: “Hope I die before I get old.”

It’s in the first verse, which is repeated at the end of the song:

       “People try to put us d-down
       Just because we g-g-get around
       Things they do look awful c-c-cold
       Hope I die before I get old.”

As rock fans also know, Keith Moon was renowned for his self-destructive, drug-and-alcohol amped lifestyle.

Naturally, the famed “Hope I die...” line showed up in obituaries written for him in 1978 and in many articles and books later written about Moon and the Who.

In an odd coincidence, on September 7, 2003, exactly 25 years after Keith Moon passed away, American rock musician Warren Zevon died of cancer at age 56.

Like Moon, Zevon was legendary for his substance abuse and other excesses.

One of the best known songs from Zevon’s self-titled 1976 album is “I'll Sleep When I'm Dead.”

The lyrics were written in Zevon’s darkly-humorous trademark style:

       “I’m drinking heartbreak motor oil and Bombay gin
       I'll sleep when I'm dead
       Straight from the bottle, twisted again
       I’ll sleep when I'm dead.”

Inevitably, the line “I’ll sleep when I'm dead” was cited in many obits, articles and blog posts shortly after Zevon shuffled off his mortal coil.

It was also used as the title of a book about him, compiled by his former wife, Crystal, and published in 2007.

The book’s full title is: I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon.

Talk show host David Letterman was a longtime fan and friend of Warren Zevon and had him as a guest on The Late Show many times.

On October 30, 2002, Warren made his last appearance on Letterman’s show.

At that point, it was public knowledge that Zevon’s cancer was likely to be terminal in the near future.

His fan and friend Letterman asked Warren during the show if facing death had given him any new insights about life.

Zevon’s reply included three words that became another famous quote: “Enjoy every sandwich."

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August 31, 2017

“She was the people’s princess” (but not the first) . . .


In 1995, after she was separated from but still married to Britain’s Prince Charles, Princess Diana said in a BBC television interview: “I’d like to be a queen in people’s hearts.”

For many people, she was.

Diana became and remains beloved for her high-profile support for various charities, like the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, her un-Royal-like rapport with the public and, of course, for her beauty.

Her tragic death in a car accident in Paris on August 31, 1997 led to a huge outpouring of emotion from those who knew her and from the public.

Tony Blair, Leader of Britain’s Labour Party, was British Prime Minister at the time of Diana’s fatal crash.

On the night of her death, he was one of many notable people the press asked for reactions.

Blair’s widely-published response was poignant and memorable. He said:

       “She was the people’s princess and that is how she will stay, how she will remain in our hearts and our memories forever.”

Since then, the phrase “the People’s Princess” has been inextricably linked to Diana.     

In his Yale Book of Quotations, quote expert Fred Shapiro notes that Blair wasn’t the first person to use that nickname for her.

More than a decade earlier, it had appeared in a souvenir booklet about Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s 1983 tour of Australia.

The heading of a section in in that publication was “Diana: the People’s Princess.”

However, it was Blair’s more widely-publicized use that made the phrase forever associated with the beautiful, doomed “Princess Di.”

Diana was not the first British Royal to be called “the People’s Princess.”

A century earlier, Royal watchers and the press used that nickname for Princess Mary Adelaide, the Duchess of Teck (1833-1897).

This reflected the fact that Mary Adelaide was one of the first of “the Royals” to actively support a broad range of public charities.

Indeed, if she had been as stunningly beautiful as Diana, she might be more widely known today. Alas…

Well, you can judge for yourself about Mary Adelaide’s looks. Her other nickname was the highly unflattering moniker “Fat Mary.”

The photo shown here is one of the better ones I could find of the first “Peoples Princess.”

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August 29, 2017

Bring me the head of John the Baptist – and Alfredo Garcia...

Salome & John the Baptist's head, by Gustave Moreau-8x6
Director Sam Peckinpah’s 1974 film Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, starring Warren Oates, is one of my favorite movies from the Seventies.  

The film’s title comes from a line in the movie said by the main villain El Jefe (played by actor Emilio Fernández).

When El Jefe finds out his daughter has had a secret affair with his gang member Alfredo Garcia and is pregnant, he puts a hit out on Garcia, saying: “I will pay one million dollars. Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia!”

That second line is a modern descendant of a famous Biblical quotation associated with the date August 29.

About 2,000 years ago, according to the Bible, a rabble-rousing, hair-shirt-wearing, locust-and-honey-eating preacher known as John the Baptist mightily annoyed King Herod and his family.

Herod had married his own niece and they had a daughter.

Righteous John publicly denounced the marriage as incestuous and against Jewish law.

Herod threw John in prison. Not long after, the king threw himself a birthday party.

The featured entertainer was his daughter.

bring-me-the-head-of-alfredo-garcia poster TDIQShe’s not named in the Bible, but historical accounts say she was Salome – the one known for the exotic “Dance of the Seven Veils.”
Salome apparently tripped the light fantastic in an especially pleasing way at Herod’s birthday bash.

He told her he wanted to reward her by giving her anything she wanted.

At the suggestion of her mother, Salome replied: “Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger.” 

That’s the original King James Bible version of what she said, in Matthew 14:8. It uses the old English word charger, meaning a large platter or dish.

Later translations and paraphrases of the line generally used platter, giving rise to more commonly heard variations like “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter” (English Standard Bible version) and “Bring me the head of John the Baptist on a platter” (the King James 2000 Bible translation).

This led to the English idiom “to bring (or have) someone’s head on a platter,” which is a figurative way of suggesting that someone will be punished severely. 

Of course, in the Bible story (and in the movie Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia) it was a literal punishment.

Herod gave Salome her wish, by ordering John’s head to be cut off and brought to her on a platter.

In the centuries since then, August 29 has been the traditional date the Catholic, Anglican and Eastern Orthodox churches have used to commemorate the beheading and martyrdom of John the Baptist.

Alfredo Garcia, the beheaded movie character, is less widely remembered.

But he does have a special place in the hearts of Sam Peckinpah and Warren Oates fans like me.

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August 15, 2017

“Yonder lies the castle of my fodder.” The famous movie “quote” that Tony Curtis didn’t say…


When actor Tony Curtis died at age 85, in September 2010, many obituaries and tributes mentioned what is widely believed to be one of his most famous movie lines.

In those articles, and in many books of quotations, the line is usually given as either “Yonder lies the castle of my fodder” or Yonder lies the castle of my faddah.”

According to legend he was saying the word father with a Bronx accent that reflected where he grew up.

Sometimes you’ll find it written as “Yonder lies the castle of my fodda” or “Yonder lies the castle of my fadda.”

Sometimes yonder is spelled yonda or yondah. It is also quoted in the more linguistically and less snarky accent-free variation “Yonder lies the castle of my father.”

Some websites and books claim Curtis said the line in his 1951 film The Prince Who Was a Thief.

Some claim it’s from his 1954 movie The Black Shield of Falworth.

Other sources say Curtis uttered the line in yet another of his early adventure flicks, Son of Ali Baba, which was released on August 15, 1952.

In fact, Curtis didn’t say that line in any of his movies.

But the Son of Ali Baba attribution comes closest to being the right one — up to a point.

Curtis does say something that includes the words yonder and father in Son of Ali Baba. But he doesn’t say “Yonder lies the castle of my father.” And, he doesn’t say father with a heavy New York accent that makes it sound like fodder or faddah.

I’ve watched Son of Ali Baba. Several times. (Yes, I love cheesy vintage adventure movies and Tony Curtis.)

If you watch Son of Ali Baba yourself (or just zoom ahead to about 30 minutes in), you can hear the actual words that Curtis speaks to his co-star Piper Laurie. 

What he says is: “This is my father’s palace. And yonder lies the Valley of the Sun.”

The story of how those lines morphed into the much-mocked misquote “Yonder lies the castle of my fodder” was recalled by Curtis in his autobiography American Prince: A Memoir (2008).

Ironically, in that, even Tony misremembered the original lines.

Curtis wrote:

     Son of Ali Baba was the movie where I gave a line that people unjustly made fun of for years afterward. There’s a scene where I’m on horseback and Piper is sitting next to me, and I say to her, “Yonder in the valley of the sun is my father’s castle.” After the film came out, Debbie Reynolds, who would later marry Eddie Fisher, went on television and said, “Did you see the new guy in the movies? They call him Tony Curtis, but that’s not his real name. In his new movie he’s got a hilarious line where he says, ‘Yonder lies the castle of my fodda.’”
     You could chalk her ridicule up to my New York accent, but when she mentioned the issue of my real name on television, I began to wonder if there was something anti-Semitic going on there. I’m probably just hypersensitive on that topic. But either way, she got the line wrong! Unfortunately, her version stuck with the public, and for a while it became popular for people to quote the incorrect line in a ridiculous New York accent.
     Years later, Hugh Hefner came up to me at a party and said, “Yonder lies the castle of my fodda.”
     I looked at him coolly. “Hef. I never said that.”
     “Then don’t tell anybody,” he said. “It makes a great movie story.”

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July 23, 2017

“Why are you not here?” – Thoreau’s famous (apocryphal) question to Emerson...

Emerson & Thoreau in jail (quotes)
Fake quotes are sometimes harder to identify and debunk than “fake news,” especially when they are cited by hundreds of books and thousands of websites.

A good example is the question Henry David Thoreau supposedly asked his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson in July 1846 when Thoreau was jailed overnight in Concord, Massachusetts for refusing to pay the local “poll tax,” as a protest against slavery and/or the Mexican-American War.

According to the oft-told story, Emerson visited Thoreau in jail and asked why he was there.

Thoreau purportedly responded: “Why are you not here?”

This legendary jailhouse meeting and Thoreau’s legendary zinger are exactly that – legend, not fact. But the facts about Thoreau’s night in jail are not easy to pin down.

Some sources give the date of Thoreau’s incarceration as July 23, 1846. Others say July 24, 1846.

Possibly both dates apply, since he was arrested during the day, stayed in jail one night, and was released the following morning after someone anonymously paid the tax for him.

Some versions of the story say Thoreau refused to pay the tax to protest the Mexican-American War, which had begun a few months earlier. Others say he was protesting slavery.

Again, my guess is that it could have been both.

The war started in part because Americans in the then Mexican-owned region of Texas opposed Mexico’s law prohibiting slavery. They wanted Texas to be annexed by the U.S. as slave-holding territory and eventually a slave state. 

So, there was a link between the two issues.

On January 26, 1848, Thoreau mentioned his night in jail in an address to a group of local intellectuals called the Concord Lyceum.

The speech, originally titled “The Rights and Duties of the Individual in Relation to Government,” was first published with a few tweaks in 1849 under the title “Resistance to Civil Government.”

It later came to be known and reprinted after Thoreau’s death as “Civil Disobedience.”

In that influential work (which includes the famous quotation “That government is best which governs least”), Thoreau’s explanation for his refusal to pay the poll tax seems to refer to slavery, war and general principle:

       “It is for no particular item in the tax bill that I refuse to pay it. I simply wish to refuse allegiance to the State, to withdraw and stand aloof from it effectually. I do not care to trace the course of my dollar, if I could, till it buys a man, or a musket to shoot one with—the dollar is innocent—but I am concerned to trace the effects of my allegiance. In fact, I quietly declare war with the State, after my fashion…”

He added an oddly hypocritical ending to that high-minded declaration: “...though I will still make use and get what advantages of her [i.e., the State] I can, as is usual in such cases.”

In a mention of his night in jail in the book Walden, published in 1854, Thoreau wrote:

       “I did not pay a tax to, or recognize the authority of, the State which buys and sells men, women, and children, like cattle, at the door of its senate-house.”

Thoreau’s non-payment of the poll tax as a political statement seems to have been inspired by his friend, writer, educator and abolitionist Bronson Alcott.

In 1843, Alcott refused to pay the poll tax, as a symbolic protest against slavery. As a sort of symbolic punishment, the local sheriff put Alcott in jail for a couple of hours until someone (possibly his wife) paid the tax for him.

After hearing of Alcott’s protest, Thoreau began refusing to pay the poll tax.

Three years later, Concord Constable Sam Staples stopped Thoreau on the street on either July 23 or July 24, 1846 and urged him to pay up.

According to an article in the August 1975 issue of the venerable history magazine American Heritage, Staples even offered to loan Thoreau the money.    

Thoreau wasn’t wealthy, but the bill didn’t amount to much. The annual poll tax, which was supposed to be paid by male citizens between the ages of 21 and 70, was $1.50, or about $40 in today’s dollars.    

Thoreau told Staples he was still refusing to pay. It’s not clear whether the reason he gave at the time was to protest slavery or the Mexican-American War or both.

The Night Thoreau Spent in JailEither way, it was simply a symbolic gesture. The poll tax supported city services, not the state or federal government, and it had no real financial connection to slavery or the Mexican-American War.

Thoreau’s willingness to go to jail for his political views is generally portrayed as an inspiring and brave act. Undeniably, it has inspired many people, including Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

However, researchers who have looked into the poll tax law have said that, while it could be enforced by seizing property in lieu of payment, it’s questionable whether non-payment would have been — or legally could have been — punished with a lengthy jail sentence.

At any rate, it is true that Thoreau spent one night in jail for his principled act of tax evasion.

He was released the next day after someone (probably his aunt Maria Thoreau) paid the tax for him.

Perhaps it’s more accurate to say Constable Sam Staples kicked him out of jail.

Thoreau argued that since he didn’t personally pay the tax, he had a “right” to remain in locked up. Staples disagreed and made him leave.

According to legend, while Thoreau was in the Concord jail, his friend, fellow writer and social commentator Ralph Waldo Emerson, came to visit him and said “Henry, why are you here?” or “Henry, I am sorry to find you here.”

The most famous version of Thoreau’s response is “Why are you not here?” (with emphasis on not.)

Thoreau’s line is also given as “Why are you not here also?” or “Waldo, why are you NOT here?” or “What are you doing OUT of jail?”

The story of this exchange appears to have been made up after Thoreau died in 1862.

As noted by Yale Law School librarian and scholar Fred R. Shapiro, editor of the authoritative Yale Book of Quotations, there is no evidence that Emerson visited Thoreau in jail. And, Emerson is unlikely to have asked the question he supposedly asked since he’d have known why Thoreau was in jail.

Moreover, although Thoreau and Emerson recorded in detail the things they did and said, in their essays, journals, letters and books — and Thoreau wrote about his night in jail in Walden and “Civil Disobedience” — neither wrote anything about such a visit.

Shapiro and language maven Barry Popik have traced the first known version of the legend to an article published in the Christian Examiner in July 1865, three years after Thoreau’s death.

Popik’s post about the mythical exchange on his website documents several other versions of the story in newspaper and magazine articles published after that in the 1800s.

Since then, versions of the story have been included in many biographies of Thoreau and history books, typically cited as if Emerson’s visit and Henry’s zinger of a reply to Waldo were historical facts.

In 1969, during the Vietnam War, the legend was further enshrined in popular culture by the widely-produced anti-war play The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, written by Robert E. Lee and Jerome Lawrence.

In the play, Emerson says “Henry! Henry! What are you doing in jail?”

Thoreau responds, “Waldo! What are you doing out of jail?”    

After 1846, the real life Thoreau continued to refuse to pay his poll tax. In the 1849 printing of “Civil Disobedience” he said proudly: “I have paid no poll tax for six years.”

Apparently, Constable Staples gave Thoreau a pass after his one famed night in jail, or maybe Aunt Maria kept paying the tax for him, since he didn’t end up in jail for non-payment after that.

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July 12, 2017

“There, but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford.”


It is often claimed that the familiar expression of compassion “There, but for the grace of God, go I” is based on a quote by the 16th Century English Protestant clergyman John Bradford.

According to tradition, Bradford was a prisoner in the Tower of London when he said it.

He had previously been a prominent supporter of the religious reforms imposed by King Edward VI, which essentially banned Catholicism in England and established the Protestant Church of England as the country’s official religion.

Part of this “reformation” involved jailing or executing Catholic clergymen who weren’t willing to go along with the change.

After Edward died in 1553, Mary I (a.k.a. “Bloody Mary” Tudor) took the throne in England and forcefully reimposed Catholicism.

That involved jailing or executing Protestant clergymen who weren’t willing to go along with the change.

One of them was John Bradford, who refused to acknowledge the authority of the Pope and was convicted of “trying to stir up a mob.”

Queen Mary had Bradford locked up in the Tower of London with other notable Protestant leaders, such as Archbishop Thomas Cranmer.

One day while there, legend has it, Bradford looked down and saw a criminal being led to execution. (In some versions of the story, it’s a group of criminals.)

Simultaneously feeling compassion for the criminal and relief that he was better off, Bradford allegedly uttered the famous quotation “There, but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford.”

This quote has long been cited as the origin of the proverbial saying “There but for the grace of God go I.”

This was memorably modernized as “There but for fortune go you or I” by Sixties folksinger Phil Ochs, in his much-covered song “There But for Fortune.”           

It should be noted that modern quote and phrase sleuths have been unable to find any documentation that Bradford actually said anything like the quote he’s alleged to have said.

The traditional story of Bradford’s famous quotation appears to come from biographies written about him in the 1800s, centuries after he was dead.

There’s no record of such a quote in historical records from Bradford’s own time and no such words in his writings.

Nonetheless, “There but for the grace of God goes John Bradford” is included as an attributed quote in many books of quotations. (It’s sometimes given as “But for the grace of God there goes John Bradford”.)

The association this questionable quote has with the date July 1 is ironic.

The usual explanation of the quote’s meaning is that Bradford was expressing sympathy for the soon-to-be-executed criminal (or criminals) and suggesting that, except for God’s mercy, he might be sharing the same fate.

As it turned out, Bradford’s final fate actually was the same. Maybe worse, depending on how the criminal(s) got snuffed.

On July 1, 1555, Queen Mary had Bradford burned at the stake.

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July 09, 2017

“You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.”

William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925)
July 9th is the anniversary of one of the most famous political speeches in history, the “Cross of Gold Speech” by William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925).

Bryan, one of America’s most charismatic and gifted orators, made the speech at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago on July 9, 1896. (For some reason, many books and websites, including normally credible sources like Britannica.com, give the date as July 8, 1896. I triple-checked it. The correct date is July 9.)

Bryan’s address that day is called the “Cross of Gold Speech” because of his fiery, oft-cited closing lines:

       “You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.”

The speech contains another line about the importance of agriculture to society that also appears in many books of quotations:

       “Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.”

The meaning of Bryan’s words about farms is easy to grasp: their existence and an adequate food supply is crucial to civilization.

The meaning and context of the “cross of gold” quote is more complicated.

So were the political views of William Jennings Bryan.

He was something like a cross between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Like them, he was a populist politician.

He was a member of the Democratic Party and served as a Democratic Congressman for Nebraska from 1891 to 1895. But his primary allegiance was to his own moral principles and beliefs and his own hard core supporters, the majority of whom were low-income farmers and working people in rural areas of the country.

Bryan was known (and portrayed himself) as a strong advocate for the “common man” against wealthy businessmen and corporations. But Black Americans and immigrants were not among the common people Bryan cared about.

During the 2016 presidential campaign in an interesting article titled “Is Bernie Sanders Our William Jennings Bryan?” historian Michael Kazin noted: “Bryan and nearly all other Democrats in his day were unabashed defenders of Jim Crow. Their populism halted abruptly and cruelly at the color line. Neither did the eloquent Bryan, widely known as the Great Commoner, say much to defend the millions of common Jewish and Catholic immigrants who suffered from discrimination at the hands of his fellow native-born white Protestants.”

On the other hand, Bryan was an early supporter of the Women’s Suffrage movement and helped push for passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right vote.

But that partly reflected the fact that, like Bryan, most white Suffragettes supported state Prohibition laws and the 18th Amendment, which banned the manufacture, transportation and sale of liquor.

He was also a fundamentalist Christian who became one of the most high-profile critics of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Most notably, Bryan defended the state of Tennessee’s ban on teaching evolution in schools in the infamous “Scopes Monkey Trial.”

Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” speech focused on the debate over “bimetallism,” one of the biggest, most controversial monetary policy issues in the late 1800s. It’s an arcane, now outdated issue that’s a bit hard to grasp and summarize. Here’s my layman’s attempt…

Cross of goldcartoon by Grant Hamilton, JUDGE magazine, 1896From the end of the Revolutionary War until 1873, money in the United States was “backed” by deposits of both silver and gold and the U.S. government minted both gold and silver coins. This “bimetallic standard” required the government to buy significant quantities of both metals.

During the mid-1800s, as more and more silver was mined in the U.S., that artificially propped up silver prices and benefitted owners of silver mines, which were primarily located in Western states.

It also caused creeping inflation in the costs of certain basic goods, such as agricultural products. That benefitted Midwestern and Western farmers but tended to increase living costs for most other working people. In addition, monetary inflation hurt banks and other lenders, by eroding the value of their loans.

In 1873, Congress passed a law ending bimetallism and moving the U.S. to the “gold standard” used in the United Kingdom and a number of other countries.

Midwestern and Western states opposed the change and pushed for a return to bimetallism, especially after the U.S. was hit by a severe economic depression in 1893.

William Jennings Bryan became a prominent leader of their “Free Silver” movement, which wanted the government to go back to bimetallism and mint an unlimited amount of silver-backed money on demand.

In his convention speech on July 9, 1896, Bryan framed the issue as a battle between “prosperous” people in big cities and “the struggling masses.” It was sort of a rural-based “trickle up” theory.

       “The Democratic idea has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up and through every class that rests upon it,” he said. “You come to us and tell us that the great cities are in favor of the gold standard. I tell you that the great cities rest upon these broad and fertile prairies. Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic. But destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.”

Bryan also took a shot at the idea that the U.S. should care about other countries’ monetary policy, much like some modern politicians attack free trade, globalism and the Paris climate change agreement.

       “Our ancestors, when but three million, had the courage to declare their political independence of every other nation upon earth,” he opined. “Shall we, their descendants, when we have grown to seventy million, declare that we are less independent than our forefathers? No, my friends...instead of having a gold standard because England has, we shall restore bimetallism, and then let England have bimetallism because the United States have.”

Here’s the full final paragraph of his speech, showing the context of his famous “cross of gold” line:

       “If they dare to come out in the open field and defend the gold standard as a good thing, we shall fight them to the uttermost, having behind us the producing masses of the nation and the world. Having behind us the commercial interests and the laboring interests and all the toiling masses, we shall answer their demands for a gold standard by saying to them, you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.”

Bryan had used versions of the crown of thorns/cross of gold lines in previous speeches. But no speech he’d ever made generated so much attention or had such an effect.

At the end of his address, the convention delegates cheered and applauded Bryan wildly and carried him on their shoulders.

Reports of his speech and its reception were published in newspapers throughout the country. It made him a national celebrity and earned him the Democratic Party’s nomination for president in the 1896 election.

His campaign slogan was “No Crown of Thorns, No Cross of Gold.”

Republicans and Republican-leaning editors viewed Bryan as a dangerous demagogue, whose “free silver” proposal would make America’s economic problems even worse.

The majority of “the struggling masses” were also leery of Bryan’s call for a return to bimetallism. That November, Bryan was soundly defeated by Republican candidate William McKinley.

Nevertheless, he remained a Democratic superstar. He received the party’s nomination for president again in 1900 – and lost again to McKinley.

Bryan ran for president a third time in 1908, but lost in a landslide to Republican nominee William Howard Taft.

However, in the realm of famous quotations, Bryan ultimately beat both of them. Neither McKinley nor Taft ever said anything cited by thousands of books and websites like Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” quotes are.

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