A voice from 115 years ago. The campaign of 1896 was a study in contrasts. William Jennings Bryan, the Democrat candidate for President, was the premier orator of his day, and during the campaign he barnstormed across the nation, giving over 600 speeches. As the video indicates, McKinley was not an orator. McKinley stayed close to home, conducting a front porch campaign, and gave speeches to supporters brought to his home to hear him speak.
Mark Hannah, McKinley’s campaign manager, put together one of the most effective Presidential campaigns in American history, outspending Bryan’s campaign by a stunning 12-1, and flooding the nation with pamphlets, flyers, pro-McKinley parades and surrogate speakers for McKinley. On election day McKinley crushed Bryan, 271-176 in the electoral college, ushering in a period of Republican political dominance, which, with the exception of Wilson’s two terms in the White House, would last until 1932.
The video demonstrates how pronounced regional accents were a hundred years ago, without the influence of radio and television to flatten them out.