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WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN'S 1905–1906 WORLD TOUR*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 May 2013

DANIEL SCROOP*
Affiliation:
University of Glasgow
*
School of Humanities, University of GlasgowG12 8QQdaniel.scroop@glasgow.ac.uk

Abstract

This article is a study of the 1905-6 world tour undertaken by William Jennings Bryan and his family. Bryan was one of the major US politicians of his era. Three times a Democratic party presidential nominee (1896, 1900, 1908), he played a prominent role in the various reform crusades of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and was the leading figure on the populist, agrarian wing of his party. To date, however, historians have paid little attention to his extensive travels and voluminous travel writing, in large part because hostile journalists and historians – chief among them Walter Lippmann, H. L. Mencken, and Richard Hofstadter – succeeded in casting him as an archetype of American parochialism. This study makes us aware of Bryan's published and unpublished correspondence, the memoirs of his daughter Grace, newspaper reports, and cartoons to form a reassessment of Bryan, focusing primarily on his encounters with unfamiliar cultures, and with imperialism in the Philippines, British India, and the Dutch East Indies. In so doing, it places Bryan for the first time in a global and transnational frame, and mounts a broader critique of the rigidly regional and national orientation of the US historiography of populism.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

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Footnotes

*

This article was written with support from a British Academy Small Research Grant, an AHRC Research Fellowship, and from the Department of History at the University of Sheffield. Previous versions of this article were presented at the British American Nineteenth-Century History conference in Liverpool and at Clare College, Cambridge. I am grateful to Doug Rossinow and to the editors and anonymous readers of the Historical Journal for their comments.

References

1 Grace Bryan (GB), ‘William Jennings Bryan’, unpublished manuscript, vol. i, ‘Notes on foreign travel’, p. 5, box 57, William Jennings Bryan papers, Library of Congress (WJBLC); Coletta, Paolo E., William Jennings Bryan (2 vols., Lincoln, NE, 1964), i, p. 360Google Scholar.

2 For discussion of the peripatetic nature of Bryan's life and politics see Kazin, Michael, A godly hero: the life of William Jennings Bryan (New York, NY, 2006), pp. 121–41Google Scholar.

3 Bryan's oldest daughter, Ruth, did not travel with them. Kazin, Godly hero, p. 121.

4 Initial plans to visit Australia and New Zealand were abandoned. See William Jennings Bryan to Charles Wayland Bryan (CWB), 8 Apr. 1906, world tour correspondence, William Jennings Bryan papers, Occidental College, Los Angeles (WJBOC).

5 ‘Bryan ashore in arms of friends', Washington Post, 30 Aug. 1906, p. 1; ‘Cheers for Bryan as he comes home’, New York Times, 30 Aug. 1906, p. 1; ‘Commoner returns’, Los Angeles Times, 30 Aug. 1906, p. 1; ‘Sure he'll lead party in 1908’, Chicago Tribune, 30 Aug. 1906, p. 1; ‘Democracy's idol, his wife and daughter, and head of the “home folks” delegation’, Chicago Tribune, 30 Aug. 1906, p. 2.

6 Ibid. Ulysses S. Grant's 1877–9 world tour failed to revive his already flagging political career.

7 Coletta gives the longest account to date, though his focus is chiefly on Bryan in Europe: Coletta, Bryan, i, pp. 360–75. See also Hibben, Paxton, The peerless leader: William Jennings Bryan (New York, NY, 1929), pp. 264–75Google Scholar; Glad, Paul W., The trumpet soundeth: William Jennings Bryan and his Democracy, 1896–1912 (Lincoln, NE, 1960)Google Scholar; Koenig, Louis W., Bryan: a political biography of William Jennings Bryan (New York, NY, 1971), pp. 405–15Google Scholar; and Kazin, Godly hero, pp. 121–2, 127–31. Bryan's wife, Mary Baird Bryan, gives her account in Bryan, Mary Beard and Bryan, William Jennings, The memoirs of William Jennings Bryan (2 vols., Port Washington, NY, 1925), ii, pp. 308–26Google Scholar. Bryan's published travel writings include Under other flags: travels, lectures, speeches (Lincoln, NE, 1904) and The old world and its ways (Lincoln, NE, 1907). Works Bryan wrote while he was on his world tour include Bryan, William Jennings, Letters to a Chinese official: being a Western view of Eastern civilization (New York, NY, 1906)Google Scholar; British rule in India (Westminster, 1906); ‘Individualism v. socialism’, Century Magazine, n.s., 71 (Apr. 1906), pp. 856–9; and ‘Path to peace’, The Independent, 61 (30 Aug. 1906), pp. 483–9.

8 Lippmann, Walter, Drift and mastery: an attempt to diagnose the current unrest (London, 1914), pp. 121–48, at p. 129Google Scholar.

9 Ibid., p. 130.

10 This negative view was later reinforced by theatrical and cinematic representations of the Scopes trial, notably Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee's 1955 play Inherit the wind, and Stanley's Kramer's similarly titled 1960 film adaptation.

11 Mencken, H. L., ‘Beaters of Breasts’, Heathen days: 1890–1936 (New York, NY, 1968), pp. 283–4Google Scholar.

14 Brown, David, Richard Hofstadter: an intellectual biography (Chicago, IL, 2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, p. 146.

15 Hofstadter, Richard, The American political tradition: and the men who made it (New York, NY, 1948), p. 201Google Scholar.

16 Ibid., pp. 191, 202.

17 Ibid., p. 190.

19 Ibid., pp. 193–4.

20 Levine, Lawrence W., Defender of the faith: William Jennings Bryan: the last decade (Cambridge, MA, 1987), p. ixGoogle Scholar.

21 Levine, Defender, p. ix.

22 Kazin, Godly hero, p. 127.

23 Ibid., p. 364 n. 101.

24 Ibid., p. 297.

25 GB, ‘Notes’, p. 5.

26 Bryan, Under other flags, pp. 36, 68.

27 Bryan's account of his meeting with Tolstoy appears in Bryan, Under other flags, pp. 96–108. See also Wenzer, Kenneth C., ‘Tolstoy and Bryan’, Nebraska History, 77 (1996), pp. 140–8Google Scholar.

28 For comparative purposes, see Jane Addams's account of her visit to see Tolstoy in Addams, Twenty years at Hull-House (New York, NY, 1911), pp. 267–73.

29 Kazin, Godly hero, p. 170.

30 Rodgers, Daniel T., Atlantic crossings: social politics in a progressive age (Princeton, NJ, 1998)Google Scholar.

31 Bryan, Under other flags, pp. 23, 40.

32 GB, ‘Notes’, p. 1. For Bryan and Mexico, see Carter, Boyd, ‘William Jennings Bryan in Mexico’, Nebraska History, 41 (1960), pp. 5364Google Scholar; Worthern, Edward H., ‘The Mexican journey of William Jennings Bryan, a good neighbor’, Nebraska History, 59 (1978), pp. 485500Google Scholar.

33 Ibid. Bryan, Under other flags, pp. 156–70.

34 Coletta, Bryan, ii, 9–10; Kazin, Godly hero, p. 177.

35 GB, ‘Notes’, p. 1.

37 Coletta, Bryan, i, p. 361.

38 Rodgers, Crossings, p. 66.

39 Coletta, Bryan, i, p. 361.

40 Kazin, Godly hero, p. 122.

41 Bryan, Old world, p. 470.

42 The Commoner, 6 July 1906, p. 13. For transnational missionary networks and their connection to worlds of reform, see Tyrrell, Ian, Reforming the world: the creation of America's moral empire (Princeton, NJ, 2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

43 GB, ‘Notes’, p. 400.

44 ‘Around the world with William Jennings Bryan’, Washington Post, 14 Jan. 1906, p. M3.

47 ‘Steamer Manchuria here’, New York Times, 30 May 1904.

48 ‘Around the world with William Jennings Bryan’, Washington Post, 14 Jan. 1906, p. M3.

51 Among the audience were Prime Minister Henry Campbell Bannerman, Winston Churchill, and Alice Roosevelt Longworth. See The Commoner, 6 July 1906, p. 13; Longworth, Alice Roosevelt, Crowded years: reminiscences of Alice Roosevelt Longworth (New York, NY, 1933), p. 124Google Scholar; Koenig, Bryan, pp. 408–9; Coletta, Bryan, i, p. 366.

52 Hibben, Peerless, p. 270; Coletta, Bryan, i, p. 366.

53 Coletta, Bryan, i, p. 366.

55 GB, ‘Notes’, p. 401.

56 Ibid., p. 406.

57 ‘Bryan's experiences in the hermit kingdom, poor little Korea a bone of contention’, Washington Post, 4 Mar. 1906, p. SM8.

59 ‘Bryan tells about the strange customs of the people of the flowery kingdom’, Washington Post, 18 Mar. 1906, p. M8.

60 ‘Bryan sees many strange things in Japan’, Washington Post, 28 Jan. 1906, p. SM5.

61 ‘Bryan describes Japan and its people’, Washington Post, 21 Jan. 1906, p. SMA3.

63 ‘Bryan describes Japan and its people’, Washington Post, 21 Jan. 1906, p. SMA3

64 ‘Many interesting facts told by Mr. Bryan about things in Japan’, Washington Post, 11 Feb. 1906, p. SM6.

65 ‘Bryan describes Japan and its people’, Washington Post, 21 Jan. 1906, p. SMA3.

66 William Jennings Bryan, Jr, ‘My Japanese brother’, http://nishidanishida.web.fc2.com/digest_1f.htm, 1 Oct. 2012.

75 ‘Bryan sees many strange things in Japan’, Washington Post, 28 Jan. 1906, p. SM5.

76 Bryan Jr, ‘My Japanese brother’.

78 Kazin, Godly hero, p. 129.

79 Bryan, Jr, ‘My Japanese brother’.

80 Bryan, Old world, p. 73.

81 Ibid., p. 79.

83 ‘Burma and Buddhism as seen by Bryan’, Washington Post, 27 May 1906, p. SM2.

84 Bryan, Old world, pp. 269, 380.

85 Ibid., p. 79.

86 Bryan, Letters to a Chinese official.

87 Ibid., 13; GB, ‘Notes’, p. 472.

88 Ibid., p. 21.

89 Ibid., p. 17.

90 Letters from a Chinese official: being an Eastern view of Western civilization (New York, NY, 1906).

91 Letters from John Chinaman (London, 1901).

92 For evidence that some American readers realized at the time that the author was probably not Chinese, see Lee's, G. W. letter to the New York Times, 19 Mar. 1904, Review of Books section, p. BR186Google Scholar.

93 John Chinaman, p. viii.

94 GB, ‘Notes’, p. 411.

95 ‘Bryan finds China a mountainous land with mighty deserts’, Washington Post, 11 Mar. 1906, p. M9.

96 GB ‘Notes’, pp. 413–14.

97 Ibid., p. 414.

98 Ibid., p. 415A.

100 Ibid., p. 416.

101 Ibid.

102 Ibid. ‘Bryan comes at daylight’, Manila Times, 21 Dec. 1905, in Capt. James Moss's scrapbook, ‘Album of photographs (Bryan's trip to the Philippine Islands, 1905–06)’, box OV5, WJBLC.

103 ‘Aguinaldo and Bryan said howdy’, n.d., clipping in Moss scrapbook, OV5, WJBLC.

104 GB, ‘Notes’, p. 434.

105 Ibid.

106 Ibid.

107 ‘Bryan comes at daylight’, Manila Times, 21 Dec. 1905, in Moss scrapbook, box OV5, WJBLC; Kramer, Paul, The blood of government: race, empire, the United States, and the Philippines (Chapel Hill, NC, 2006), pp. 291–2Google Scholar.

108 ‘Entertain Bryan’, Manila Times, 26 Dec. 1905, in Moss scrapbook, box OV5, WJBLC; GB, ‘Notes’, p. 440.

109 GB, ‘Notes’, p. 440.

110 Ibid.

111 ‘Entertain Bryan’, Manila Times, 26 Dec. 1905; GB, ‘Notes’, p. 437.

112 Bryan, Old world, p. 168.

113 Ibid., p. 171.

114 See for example the text of Joaquin Jortich's 5 Jan. 1906 speech at Bacolod in Bryan, Old world, p. 171.

115 ‘Itinerary of trip through the southern islands of the Honorable William Jennings Bryan and party’, Moss scrapbook, box OV5, WJBLC.

116 GB, ‘Notes’, p. 443; ‘Bryan impressed with the northern Philippines and their people’, Washington Post, 8 Apr. 1906, p. SM6.

117 ‘Itinerary’, Moss scrapbook, box OV5, WJBPLC; Kramer, Blood of government, pp. 214–15.

118 Moss scrapbook, box OV5, WJBLC.

119 Kramer, Blood of government, p. 217.

120 GB, ‘Notes’, p. 446.

121 Ibid., pp. 445–6.

122 ‘Itinerary’, Moss scrapbook, box OV5, WJBLC. For the Bryans' meeting with the sultan of Sulu see GB, ‘Notes’, pp. 446–7, and ‘Bryan visits the wild Moro country and calls upon the sultan of Sulu’, Washington Post, 15 Apr. 1906, p. F8.

123 ‘Itinerary’, Moss scrapbook, box OV5, WJBLC.

124 Bryan, ‘Naboth's vineyard’, Under other flags, p. 361.

125 Ibid.

126 ‘Bryan impressed with the northern Philippines and their people’, Washington Post, 8 Apr. 1906, p. SM6.

127 ‘Self-government for Filipinos says Bryan’, Washington Post, 22 Apr. 1906, p. RA12.

128 Ibid.

129 Ibid.

130 Ibid.

131 Love, Eric, Race over empire: racism and U. S. imperialism, 1865–1900 (Chapel Hill, NC, 2004)Google Scholar.

132 ‘Bryan impressed with the northern Philippines and their people’, Washington Post, 8 Apr. 1906, p. SM6.

133 ‘Bryan visits the wild Moro country and calls upon the sultan of Sulu’, Washington Post, 15 Apr. 1906, p. F8.

134 ‘Self-government for Filipinos says Bryan’, Washington Post, 22 Apr. 1906, p. RA12. For a critical appraisal of Bryan's racial thought, see Smith, Willard H., ‘William Jennings Bryan and racism’, Journal of Negro History, 54 (1969), pp. 127–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

135 ‘Self-government for Filipinos says Bryan’, Washington Post, 22 Apr. 1906, p. RA12.

136 GB, ‘Notes’, p. 442.

137 Ibid., pp. 448–9.

138 ‘Java, grand with nature's beauty is alike productive in vegetation’, Washington Post, 6 May 1906, p. B4.

139 GB, ‘Notes’, p. 449.

140 ‘Mr. Bryan criticizes Dutch colonial East Indies system’, Washington Post, 13 May 1906, p. MG5.

141 Ibid.

142 Ibid.

143 Bryan, Old world, pp. 296–7.

144 Ibid., p. 297.

145 Ibid., pp. 299, 301.

146 WJB to CWB, 20 Mar. 1906, world tour correspondence, WJBOC.

147 Bryan, Old world, pp. 417–18.

148 WJB to CWB, 20 Mar. 1906, world tour correspondence, WJBOC.

149 WJB to CWB, Apr. 1906, world tour correspondence, WJBOC.

150 WJB to CWB, Apr. 1906, world tour correspondence, WJBOC.

151 WJB to CWB, 26 Apr. 1906, world tour correspondence, WJBOC.

152 ‘A letter from the home folks’, Sioux City Journal, 16 May 1906, Scrapbooks, Cartoons, OV2, WJBLC.

153 Coletta, Bryan, i, p. 365.

154 Bryan, ‘Individualism vs. socialism’, pp. 856–9.

155 Coletta, Bryan, i, p. 365.

156 ‘The return visit’, Chicago News, 30 July 1906, Scrapbooks, Cartoons, OV2, WJBLC.

157 Untitled cartoon, Philadelphia Inquirer, 13 June 1906, Scrapbooks, Cartoons, OV2, WJBLC.

158 Ibid.

159 Coletta, Bryan, i, p. 367.

160 Ibid.

161 Ibid., p. 366.

162 Ibid., p. 367.

163 Theodore Roosevelt to Whitelaw Reid, 27 July 1906, Morison, Samuel Eliot, ed., Letters of Theodore Roosevelt (8 vols., Cambridge, MA, 1951–4), v, pp. 338–9Google Scholar.

164 Ibid., p. 339.

165 Tyrrell, Reforming the world.

166 Rodgers, Crossings, p. 503–4.

167 Ibid., p. 504.