William Jennings Bryan was a gifted speaker, lawyer, three-time presidential candidate, and devout Protestant. Although he was born in Salem, Illinois, Bryan made his career in Nebraska politics. He won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1890. A tireless defender of the small farmer and laborer, Bryan worked closely with the Populist Party, a group of poor Midwestern and Southern farmers who suffered economically due to low prices for their crops, which they blamed on Northeastern business interests. Bryan's efforts on behalf of farmers and laborers (the so-called "common" people) earned him the title the "Great Commoner."