“A Splendid Victory For the Right!”

Carroll County Times article for 5 November 2000
By Jay A. Graybeal

My previous two columns described the October 1900 visit to Carroll County by Democratic presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan. The November 10, 1900 issue of the Westminster American Sentinel newspaper proclaimed Republican presidential candidate William F. McKinley’s victory over Bryan under the headline of “A Splendid Victory for the Right!” William L. Seabrook, the Republican paper’s editor, also included smaller headlines that addressed the major campaign issues and predicted a rosy future under McKinley:

“Sound Money and American Honor Triumph. Bryanism Completely Overthrown. McKinley Re-Elected by Increased Electoral Majority and Larger Popular Plurality. Financial Disaster and Business Depression Averted.  Patriotic and Sound Money Democrats Helped Achieve the Victory.  Aguinaldo’s Allies Routed.  End of the Philippine Insurrection.  Filipinos will be as Free as the American People Under American Government. The only American Empire an Empire of Liberty and Justice. Maryland Still in the Procession of States Which Stand for Financial Integrity and the Maintenance of American Rights Throughout the World.   She Elects a Solid Republican Delegation to Congress.  Carroll County Also in Line.”

The newspaper also carried a number of small newsy items about the election and politics, that in keeping with the times, included several barbs about rival newspapers and local residents:

“The Baltimore Sun, which professed to shine for all, wore green goggles previous to last Tuesday.

The Baltimore Sun is now pleading the baby act, and says it didn’t mean all it said.

The “Sun” does not shine as brilliantly now as it did before the eclipse of Tuesday last.

The “Sun’s appeal to the fears and cowardice of the people of this State received the rebuke it deserved.

If any persons sees a lost Senatorial prerogative lying around loose—don’t pick it up, until “See Me First” gets a glance at it.

The barbecue designed by certain Carroll county Democrats to celebrate a Bryan victory has been indefinitely postponed.

There was an eclipse of the “Sun” on Tuesday last that could be satisfactorily seen without the aid of smoked glass.

The Sun paper will now plead for the return of old subscribers, which it lost because of its abusive and insane course in the late campaign.

The life of the Democratic party is contingent upon its divorcement from Populism.  Practically it is losing its identity in the embrace of the misnamed People’s party.

The triple coalition of Populists, Free Silver Republicans and so-called Democrats has had its day.   The voice of the people has condemned it.   Let it perish for the good of the country.

Jubilant Republicans paraded the streets of this city to the music of fifes and drums, on election night.  The formed a hilarious and rejoicing crowd, but observed good order.

The fraternizing of Maryland Democrats with Nebraska Populists, during the late campaign, was not edifying to the true disciples of Thomas Jefferson, in this locality, and the ballots of a number of them did not count for Bryan.

Mr. Nicholas W. Steele has the supreme satisfaction of knowing that he has balanced accounts with Hon. J. Fred. C. Talbott.

Some of our Democratic friends, under their leader’s assertions, really believed that Bryan was going to be elected.

The Democratic party must throw away its Populist and Free Silver Republican crutches or remain in the rear in every heat in the race for political supremacy.

The Democratic party should be convinced by this time that the result of fooling with the soundness of the currency standard is like monkeying with a buzz-saw.

The rank and file of the Democrats in this county were true to their party, but they strongly suspect that some who made loud professions of their faith in Bryan kind o’ went back on him.

The spinal vertebra of the Democratic mule has been seriously weakened by the weight of Bryanism.   The old animal will be permanently crippled if not promptly relieved of this excessive burden.

The Democratic party should now be put in training for the nomination of Wellington as their candidate for President four years hence.  The way he showed them how not to do it, in the campaign, not makes him the kind of man to lead them to another glorious defeat in 1904.

Some of the Democratic leaders here will bear up under the defeat of Bryan with Christian resignation and fortitude, and be thankful, when dividends are declared and coupons are cashed, that they will still be paid in gold and not be compelled to take unlimited silver dollars.  A still small voice whispers that they are not much cast down at Bryan’s defeat, but rejoice because they stealthily helped to bring it about and now laugh in their sleeves at the slick way in which they did it.”

President McKinley was sworn into office in January 1901 and was shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz on September 6th of the same year.  Theodore Roosevelt succeeded the slain president; his unsuccessful 1912 presidential campaign would include a stop in Westminster.  William Jennings Bryan died a broken man shortly after prosecuting John Scopes, defended by Clarence Darrow, in the “Monkey Trial” in 1925. 
Photo caption: The November 10, 1900 issue of the Westminster American Sentinel newspaper carried a large woodcut announcing presidential candidate William McKinley’s victory.  Historical Society of Carroll County newspaper collection.