William Jennings Bryan’s Last Campaign by Stephen Jay Gould
Stephen Jay Gould thinks that the end of the Arkansas court case regarding the science of creation marked the ultimate end of the controversy that surrounded evolution vs. creation. During the ruling, the Supreme Court voted 7-2 in favor of evolution. According to him, the ruling was the long waited legal tussle, and a victory for him to celebrate though remaining sympathetic for the loser, William Jennings Bryan. The outcome of this ruling implied that the science of evolution could be embraced in the society and be thought in schools. The court ruling held that there is no sufficient proves that God exists or not as protruded by Bryan in the case. Gould was so sure that the last the campaign against evolution was over since the ruling by the Supreme Court was so clear, strong, and general which even fundamentalists like Bryan should believe and accept that their legislative strategy had suffered a defeat.
Furthermore, Gould’s thought on the end of the legal tussle is based on the fact that its strong proponent, William Jennings Bryan, had died shortly after ruling. Therefore, there was no one entrusted to carry on the fight to another high level like Bryan did. Thus, Gould was correct to argue that the legislative attempts aimed at curbing evolution would not have been there without Bryan. The author believes that without him (Bryan), there would have been no scope of trial, a decade full of frustrations emanating from anti evolutionary movements, no supreme court ruling or decision to decide between evolution and creation issues. Bryan had put up a mighty and powerful fight to curb evolution, and nobody in the fundamentalist movement he organized could have made it without him. This is chiefly because he had the massive legal skills or political muscles to fight evolution in the American history.
In his own words, Gould believes that Bryan had evolved from just being an uncanny and the friendliest sweet, high pitched and sincere talker to become the greatest orator in America. He was an American who could talk with natural warmth. Out of his oratory speeches, he won the hearts of many Americans and became not only the greatest but also the popular reformer in the American soil. That is why at the age of 36 years, he was nominated the democratic presidential candidate in 1896 because of his popular rallying aimed at abolishing gold standards. This was a move caution the state against the abuse of labor for money.
In the 1900s, he ran twice for the same presidential post, both of which he lost because of his reform campaigns particularly against the imperialist Americans and the independence of the Philippines. The pacifist Bryan resigned from the office as Wilson’s state secretary because he was questing for more neutrality in the 1st WW. He also succeeded in fighting for the election of senators through direct means, suffrage of women, and graduated taxation of incomes. This is how this man evolved to becoming the most popular American reformer and an antievolution crusader.
Gould believes that Bryan is America’s greatest orator who misused his powerful political and legal influence championing antievolution movement both inside and outside courts. Politically, at the age of 36 years, he got the presidential nominations from the democrats in 1896. He also championed the rights of American labors, women, and tax payers. Though popular among the Americans, he lost his fame due to his engagement in antievolution movements, being strongly against the American imperialists, and championing the Philippine independence. According to him, Bryan was a hero who lost his fame while championing evolution.
According to Gould, Bryan made a common mistake when he confused the facts of evolution with the explanation of Darwin about its mechanisms. Bryan went further ahead to misinterpret the concept of natural selection with martial theory concerning survival via battle and the enemies’ destruction. He also made a terrible mistake when he argued that Darwinism meant the deathly struggle’s moral virtuousness. All this things confused Bryan during his struggle while fighting for evolution. However, he (Gould) thought that Bryan had succeeded in fighting for women suffrage, negotiating for reduced income tax for the labors, and the election of senators through direct means.
After reading the Science of Power and the Headquarters Nights, Bryan was upset. The author of Headquarters Night, Vernon Kellogg was the leading evolution teacher in America who had also written major text books in evolution. Kellogg also a university professor participated in the WW in German as a general staff. He enjoyed great discussions with the German military officers at nights, and it is out of these discussions that he got an idea about the German military that he used to destruct them by force after he left the country. This helped America to end the German supremacy in the world. The use of such a university professor in military incursion not only ended the war but also proposed the rationale of evolution and a natural form of selection which Bryan was always against. Bryan got scared of the horrible academicians like Kellogg being used to pollute the evolutionary power.
The author of the Science of Power was a highly respected commentator who believed that for life to progress, we should reject individual benefits and material struggles. He identified these two issues as being the impediments in Darwinism. He stated that Darwin’s doctrines enable Christians to suppress human kind and exploit natural selection. These upset Bryan once he read these two books.
If you read through the books, all that had upset Bryan are real, and they are still used to exploit natural selection. Kellogg’s predictions about the Germans are correct because he used the same predictions to fight the German militia which ended the German supremacy. Gould is upset with the book John Scopes did use to teach children evolution. The book touched on the monkey trial’s scope, and its author proclaims that science still holds moral answers to mental retardation. The book talks about the effects of hereditary in the families which include spreading of crime, immorality and diseases. This has been a problem to a large extent the whole country, and thus the need for science to remedy in separating sexes in the families. Though Bryan was wrong with science, he had already identified the problem of a society without science as an exact discipline, and the proponents of science should have agreed with Bryan.