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TAKING STILL ANOTHER cast at the Presidency in 1908, William Jennings Bryan addresses a Lambertville, New Jersey, crowd with an eloquence perfected during the course of two previous campaigns. The year is established by the poster to the right of the train: The Merry Widow had opened in New York in 1907. “When [Bryan] returned from his tours,” wrote his wife, “he had not only spoken to, but had listened to, the mind of America.” But for all his bravura rhetoric, he did not speak persuasively enough to beat Taft in November.

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This quintessential view of turn-of-the-century politicking was sent us by Mary Malone of Trenton, New Jersey, whose father, then thirty-one years old, was somewhere in the crowd.

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