William McKinley


Whom did McKinley defeat twice to win the presidency?

McKinley defeated a thirty-six-year-old lawyer who had practiced in Illinois and Nebraska named William Jennings Bryan, a talented attorney who argued many times before the U.S. Supreme Court. Known as the “Great Commoner,” Bryan advocated the free-silver cause, which would call for the federal government to allow farmers and debtors to deposit bullions and receive silver coins in return. Essentially, it was a policy that favored those in debt (which included many farmers) over the investors (the banks). Bryan captured the Democratic Party nomination three times—in 1896, 1900, and 1908.

McKinley defeated Bryan in both the election of 1896 and 1900. In 1896, McKinley won the electoral vote count 271 to 176 in 1896, and 292 to 155 in the election of 1900.


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