I invite you to steam over to the Wall Street Journal’s web site and listen to some hundred-year-old campaign speech recordings of William Jennings Bryan and William Howard Taft.  Scroll down to the box on the left side of the page under the subheading “Campaign Retrospect on Record.”

There you’ll find the hyperlinks to four speeches, two by each candidate.  I’m especially interested in the foreign policy speeches.  Taft sounds a lot like more rabid Iraq War proponents; he characterizes the continuing Philippine occupation as a crusade of civilizing and Christianizing a backward people (never mind that most Filipinos were already Christian when the U.S. annexed the Philippines).  Bryan wants no part of the imperialist endeavor, and considers the whole thing economically wasteful and constitutionally anathemic to the U.S.  Also striking is the racist condescension that both men display toward the Filipinos.

Give it a listen.  I suppose the value it holds for today’s electoral shenanigans is in the ear of the beholder.

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