How Bryan spoke about the white race
William Jennings Bryan begins his Memoirs (1925) with the statement that his purpose is to show his indebtedness to things outside himself:
[G]ood fortune has had more to do with such success as I may have achieved than any efforts of my own…. Opportunity comes independently of one’s own efforts; and his preparedness to meet opportunity is due, as I shall show, largely to others…. I have been wonderfully fortunate in the opportunities that have come to me….Back then, whites—including the most prominent and respected men of America—spoke naturally and without embarrassment of their identification with and pride in the white race.
Indeed, in the same year that Bryan’s Memoirs were published, President Calvin Coolidge said in his inaugural address, on March 4, 1925:
It would be well if we could replace much that is only a false and ignorant prejudice with a true and enlightened pride of race.In his distinction between “false and ignorant prejudice” and “true and enlightened pride,” Coolidge underscores a point I made recently. Statements about race, like statements about any subject, must past the test of appropriateness, fitness, and morality. While we may differ on where we draw the line, he who denies that there is a line is not a civilized man but a barbarian.