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William Jennings Bryan: Moral Crusader and Pacifist

He was not inclined to be submissive to and did not feel beholden to professional "experts" of any sort. He thus had no special

3 Louis W. Koenig, Bryan: A Political Biography of William Jennings Bryan (New York: Putnam, 1971), 51115

4 LeRoy Ashby, William Jennings Bryan: Champion of Democracy (Boston: Twayne, 1987), 144. regard for the professional diplomates of the State Department, especially as they were seen as representing a narrow regional and class interest. He thus had no objections to the traditional spoils system.5 Political appointees were deserving Democrats, loyal and longtime workers in the vinyards of the public good. Why, in Bryan's populist view, should they not represent America as well as the foreign service regulars entrenched during the long preceding period of Republican rule? Accordingly, a steady steam of Democratic patronageseekers duly descended upon the State Department during the early days of Bryan's tenure.

Although a political appointee himself, and thoroughly political and partisan in his own appointments, Bryan was none the less a firm and genuine idealist. In the eyes of a critic, Frederic Howe, he was the embodiment of the "selfrighteous missionary mind."6 The basis of his international outlook was that war was not only immoral, but on the practical point of being abandoned by the civilized world. In his whole outlook, Bryan was "almost compulsively optimistic."7

The programmatic embodiment of this was a series of "reconciliation treaties" which the United States entered into with various countries. These were designed to at least stall off an outbreak of war, to let "peacedragout."8 By the ominous month of August, 1914, Bryan had negotiated thirty such treaties, of which twenty had been ratified. Treaties had been signed with

8 Koenig, 511.all the major powers, with the notable exceptions of Germany, Austria, and Ja...

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