A War for Peace: William Jennings Bryan and his Crusade
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On June 28, 1914 Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb student, killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, in Sarajevo. This assassination set off the powder keg of Europe and plunged it into war from 1914-1918. The United States was in the middle of the Progressive Era and was trying its best to deal with its growing pains from its booming economy and unprecedented growth in industry. The gap between rich and poor had grown so wide after the Civil War that children went unfed while the wealthy elite held extravagant dinner parties. There was a call for regulation and William Jennings Bryan stepped forward to speak for what he believed to be the best interests of the people of the United States. This project analyzes the crucial point in Bryan?s career before he decides to resign from being Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson. Bryan?s resignation and Wilson?s decision to involve the United States in the Great War deserve close attention because they are key moments that define the United States and sets the pattern for which the United States was to follow in the decades to come.