What's the Matter with Kansas? (editorial)

"What's the Matter with Kansas?" was an 1896 newspaper editorial authored by William Allen White and widely republished across the United States. The editorial criticized presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, whose populist platform advocated for the free silver standard.[1] The editorial was leveraged by the William McKinley campaign, and has been credited for leading to McKinley's victory in the presidential election.[2] It was also the piece that made White, then 29 years old, internationally famous.[3][4][5]

William Allen White, the author of "What's the Matter with Kansas?" editorial.

White later stated that he wrote the editorial in haste,[6] referring to it as "pure vitriol" inspired by a confrontation on the street as he was walking to work.[7] He later disavowed the editorial, and advocated for progressive reforms in regular columns in McClure's Magazine.[1]

The editorial and its themes have been invoked numerous times since its initial publication.[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Magstadt, Thomas (29 November 2019). "What's the Matter with Kansas?". The Topeka Capital-Journal.
  2. ^ "On the Trail of Famous Kansans". The Wichita Eagle. 27 April 2003.
  3. ^ Chilson, Morgan (3 March 2003). "Aviator's legacy renewed". The Topeka Capital-Journal.
  4. ^ Misunas, Jim (15 November 2002). "Dillon lecturer tries to capture journalism icon's humanity". The Hutchinson News.
  5. ^ "William Allen White home to receive $700,000 in federal funds". The Chanute Tribune. 22 June 2001.
  6. ^ White, William Allen (15 August 1896). "What's the Matter With Kansas?". Kansas Collection Books. Archived from the original on 31 December 2002. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  7. ^ "William Allen White - What's the matter with Kansas? August 16 1896 - Introduction". American History. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  8. ^ Dyckman, Martin (3 February 2002). "Florida can't afford a bad attorney general". Tampa Bay Times.

Further readingEdit

  • William Allen White: Maverick on Main Street by John DeWitt McKee (1977)