Thursday, June 15, 2017

Seward Chautauqua

We got up to the Seward High School Auditorium this evening to hear two of the Chautauqua speakers. Paul Vickery represented President Woodrow Wilson and Ted Kachel served as William Jennings Bryan. Wilson spoke of his opposition to entering WW I because of his experience growing up in the south in the aftermath of the Civil War. His position was altered with the sinking of the Lusitania by German U-boats with a high cost of American lives. British intelligence also informed him that they had interpreted German communications with Mexico suggesting that if they would help takeover the United States, they would return the States of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California to Mexico. (I had never heard this before) These factors were the tipping point in his going to Congress and asking for a Decloration of War. 
Listening to "William Jennings Bryan" made me realize how little I actually knew about him.  He was elected to serve as a Congressman from Nebraska and reelected to a 2nd term. He was elected to the Senate and was a nominee for President at the age of 36. He ran twice more but never elected. President Wilson appointed him to serve as Secretary of State, a position from which he resigned when Wilson and he differed on the "Silver Standard". He read the resignation letter which I'm sure many of us were familiar with, at least parts. When war was declared, he volunteered his services and President Wilson put him in charge of promoting the sale of War Bonds at which he was very successful. They were both strong advocates of the League of Nations and developing a system to prevent future wars. It was anticipated that WW I was the war to end all wars.

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