In Their Own Voices:
The U.S. Presidential Elections of 1908 and 1912
"Scholars routinely observe that the advent of radio reshaped political speech...But for more than a decade before the first commercial radio broadcast station was inagurated in Pittsburgh in 1920, citizens... had been listening to candidate speeches. This feat was made possible by the phonograph." From the Introduction by Kathleen Hall Jamieson.
I picked up this cd as I am interested in early recordings and film. What I heard stunned me. One hundred years later, our leaders are using the same words and discussing the same topics we hear today.
"The (opposition) party has never dared to admit its imperialistic purpose and yet it is administering a colonial policy upon a theory utterly opposed to the theory of self-government.
The platform adopted at Denver condemns the experiment in imperialism as an inexcusable blunder, which has involved us in enormous expense, brought us weakness instead of strength, and laid our nation open to the charge of abandoning the fundamental principles of a republic. It is now costing us more than 100 millions a year for the Army and Navy ..."
William Jennings Bryant, 21 July 1908, referring to the debate to allow the Phillipines self-government.
"Why do the (opposition) leaders oppose a reform which even (their) voters demand? There can be but one explanation. The favor seeking corporations have made the Senate the center of their political influence, and... predatory wealth is able to prevent legislation by controlling the Senate."William Jennings Bryant, 21 July 1908, referring to the debate to allow election of Senators by direct vote of the people rather than by appointment by state legislatures.
"(Our) party has declared in its platform not only against receiving (campaign) contributions from corporations, but against receiving from individuals (campaign) contributions unreasonably large. And...our platform declares in favor of the publication, before election, of all contributions above a reasonable minimum." William Jennings Bryant, 21 July 1908, on publication of campaign contributions.
And more, on foreign policy, racism, redistribution of wealth, insuring bank deposits, minimum wages, tariffs, interstate commerce...
And, lastly, "We stand in the presence of an awakened nation impatient of partisan make-believe. The nation has awakened to a sense of neglected ideals and neglected duties to a consciousness that the rank and file of her people find life very hard to sustain." Woodrow Wilson, 24 September 1912.
"Political parties exist to secure responsible government and to execute the will of the people. From these great tasks both of the old parties have turned aside. Instead of instruments to promote the general welfare they have become the tools of corrupt interests, which use them impartially to serve their selfish purposes. " Theodore Roosevelt, 6 August, 1912
Give this a listen, see what you think. And go vote!
Transcripts and MP3 samples -
Track Listing -
Liner Notes -
The Booklet and Covers are included; the covers are not in very good shape.