Born in Illinois, William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925) became a Nebraska congressman in 1890. He starred at the 1896 Democratic convention with his Cross of Gold speech that favored free silver, but was defeated in his bid to become U.S. president by William McKinley. Bryan lost his subsequent bids for the presidency in 1900 and 1908, using the years between to run a newspaper and tour as a public speaker. After helping Woodrow Wilson secure the Democratic presidential nomination for 1912, he served as Wilson’s secretary of state until 1914. In his later years, Bryan campaigned for peace, prohibition and suffrage, and increasingly criticized the teaching of evolution.