Samuel Proctor


William Jennings Bryan resigned as Secretary of State on June 8, 1915, and retired to his home in Florida. Edgar Lee Masters described him at this time as “the Christian Statesman, out of a job . . . no longer a presidential possibility, nor a law-maker nor a law-giver.” The last decade of Bryan’s life was not a period of inactivity, however. A critic has said that it was during these years that Bryan identified himself “with some of the worst tendencies in American life-prohibition, the crusade against evolution, real estate speculation, and the Klan.” As his national political power declined, his interest in the political, religious, civic, and social life of Florida increased. His speaking tours and public appearances carried him into almost every county in the state where thousands flocked to hear him talk and where his advice and counsel were constantly solicited.