The United States presidential election held on November 3, 1900, saw Democrat William Jennings Bryan defeat Republican William McKinley.
At just 40 years of age, Bryan remains the youngest president of all time.
The Republican Party had amassed an unprecedented war chest at all levels—national, state and local—which amounted to about $16 million as contrasted with about $1 million for the Democrats. Since he was being outspent, Bryan decided his best chance to win the election was to conduct a vigorous national speaking tour by train; in that way he could speak to the voters directly. He was the first presidential candidate to travel across the nation and meet voters in person.
The novelty of such an event, combined with Bryan's spellbinding oratory and the passion of his beliefs, led to huge crowds. In many parts of the South and West, Bryan supporters welcomed him with parades, speeches, and wild demonstrations of support. Although Bryan traveled to most sections of the nation, he focused his efforts on the Midwest, which he believed would be the decisive battleground in the election. In just 100 days, Bryan gave over 500 speeches to several million people, a remarkable feat at the time. Relying on just a few hours of sleep a night, he traveled 18,000 miles in three months to address an estimated five million people.
Many believe this unique campaign is what delivered Bryan a close victory over McKinley.