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1888 Republican Convention - History

1888 Republican Convention - History


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1888 republican Convention

Exposition Hall Chicago, IL

June 19 to 25, 1888

Nominated: Benjamin Harrison of Indiana for President

Nominated: Levi P Morton of New York for Vice President

When the convention opened there were twevle potential nominees. Many supported Blaine who had come close to defeating Cleveland in 1884. After eight ballots however the convention nominated Bemjamin Harrison. The Republicans in their platform strongly opposed any change in the tariff system, a change that had been proposed by the democrats.

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National political conventions similar to or like 1888 Republican National Convention

The 26th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 6, 1888. Republican nominee Benjamin Harrison, a former Senator from Indiana, defeated incumbent Democratic President Grover Cleveland of New York. Wikipedia

Presidential nominating convention held at the Exposition Hall in Chicago, Illinois, on June 3–6, 1884. It resulted in the nomination of former House Speaker James G. Blaine from Maine for president and Senator John A. Logan of Illinois for vice president. Wikipedia

The 1880 Republican National Convention convened from June 2 to June 8, 1880, at the Interstate Exposition Building in Chicago, Illinois, United States, and nominated Representative James A. Garfield of Ohio and Chester A. Arthur of New York as the official candidates of the Republican Party for president and vice president, respectively, in the 1880 presidential election. Of the 14 men in contention for the Republican nomination, the three strongest candidates leading up to the convention were Ulysses S. Grant, James G. Blaine, and John Sherman. Wikipedia

List of American electoral candidates for the offices of President of the United States and Vice President of the United States of the modern Democratic Party, either duly preselected and nominated, or the presumptive nominees of a future preselection and election. Official campaign that received Electoral College votes are listed. Wikipedia

List of the candidates for the offices of President of the United States and Vice President of the United States of the Republican Party, either duly preselected and nominated, or the presumptive nominees of a future preselection and election. Official campaign that received Electoral College votes are listed. Wikipedia

Complete list of people who received an electoral vote in a United States presidential election. For all elections past 1804, "P" denotes a presidential vote, and "VP" denotes a vice presidential vote. Wikipedia


1888 Republican Convention | Lurker's Alternate Elections

George Franklin Edmunds: George F. Edmunds is a Senator from Vermont who is known as a masterful debater who can embarrass Democrats. He is also known for his strong stance against monopolies (which some have said is a Socialist policy). In 1882, Edmunds authored an act which made polygamy a felony in federal territories. He had a strong showing in the Convention of 1884, and might've won, had the other candidates not thrown their votes behind Sherman.

James Gillespie Blaine: James G. Blaine has been a Senator and Speaker of the House, but he is most known for managing to negotiate peace in the War of the Pacific. He is in favor of the gold standard, expanding the navy, and stopping public funds from going to religious institutions. Blaine is in favor of high tariffs, and is opposed to British influence. There is evidence that Blaine either lied to the public, or he is actually corrupt. He is accused of hating Catholics and recent questions have surfaced concerning his health.

Benjamin Harrison: Benjamin Harrison, the grandson of former president William Henry Harrison, served as a Brigadier General in the Civil War. He was elected to the House of Representatives and was one of the few Republican congressmen to stick around, as the Socialists won seats in Indiana. After that, he became a Senator from Indiana. He supports high tariffs and opposed the Chinese Exclusion Act. In 1884, Harrison supported James G. Blaine.

Russel Alexander Alger: Russel A. Alger's parents died when he was 13, leaving him an orphan. Since then, he has made his way from a farm to the post of General for the Union in the Civil War, to the position of Governor of Michigan. This Rags to Riches story has made the 52 year old former governor a very appealing candidate. During his tenure as Governor, a state board of pardons was created, a soldier’s home was founded, two new counties were formed, and the Michigan College of Mines was established.

Joseph Roswell Hawley: Joseph R. Hawley was Benjamin Bristow's Vice President. Before that, he served as the Governor of Connecticut and, he bought the Hartford Courant newspaper, which, under his leadership, became one of the leading Republican newspapers in the country. Of the Presidential candidates, he has been the most vocal on his disgust for corruption.

William Boyd Allison: Representative from Iowa William B. Allison is famous for having authored the act, known as the Bland-Allison Act, that would put a certain number of dollars backed in silver back into the economy, however, this act failed in Congress. He is also a prominent advocate for higher tariffs.

For the Vice Presidency, multiple candidates from the state of New York were considered, as that is the state with the most electoral votes overall, which if won, could make the difference between a loss and a victory.

Levi Parsons Morton: Levi P. Morton is the former Minister to France under Benjamin Bristow, where he was very popular. Before that, Morton was a Representative from New York.

Chauncey Depew: Chauncey Depew is another candidate from New York. There, he was the Secretary of State, and now is the president of the New York Central Railroad System. Depew is also a minor presidential candidate, but with no chance of winning.

William Oɼonnell Bradley: William Bradley was a Representative from Kentucky, with very impressive oratory skills. A rising star, Bradley was nominated to the Senate in 1875, even though he was too young to legally qualify. While the other candidates would help the Republicans wins New York, Bradley would help the Republicans win in some southern states.


Photo, Print, Drawing Chicago welcomes the National Republican Convention 1888

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1888 Republican National Convention

The 1888 Republican National Convention was a presidential nominating convention held at the Auditorium Building in Chicago, Illinois, on June 19–25, 1888. It resulted in the nomination of former Senator Benjamin Harrison of Indiana for president and Levi P. Morton of New York, a former Representative and Minister to France, for vice president. During the convention, Frederick Douglass was invited to speak and became the first African-American to have his name put forward for a presidential nomination in a major party's roll call vote he received one vote from Kentucky on the fourth ballot.

The ticket won in the election of�, defeating President Grover Cleveland and former Senator Allen G. Thurman from Ohio.


Election of 1888: Voters Cared Most About Import Taxes

THE MAKING OF A NATION – a program in Special English by the Voice of America.

I'm Shirley Griffith. Today, Ray Freeman and I tell the story of the American presidential election of 1888.

One political issue played a major part in the election of 1888. That issue was tariffs -- taxes on imports.

At that time, tariffs were high on many products. The high tariffs protected American goods from competing with lower-priced foreign products. They protected millions of jobs in American industry. Not everyone, however, supported high tariffs. The President of the United States, Grover Cleveland, did not.

President Cleveland believed that high tariffs hurt more Americans than they protected. High tariffs, he said, led to high prices on all products. He also opposed high tariffs because they brought in more money than the government needed. The extra money was kept in the public treasury. And this, Cleveland believed, slowed the American economy.

The president's Democratic Party united to support his policy of lowering tariffs. When the party held its presidential nominating convention in 1888, delegates quickly re-nominated Cleveland.

At the Republican Party convention, delegates were expected to nominate Senator James Blaine. Blaine had been the party's candidate four years earlier. He had lost to Cleveland in a very close election.

Senator Blaine publicly criticized the president's policy on tariffs. He said he looked forward to a full debate on the issue. Republicans thought this meant that Blaine wanted to be nominated for president again. They told him he was sure to win. They said it would be such an easy victory that he would not have to campaign.

In fact, Blaine did not want the nomination. He asked that his name not be put before the convention. He met with reporters to talk about his decision. He said: "A man who has once been the candidate of his party -- and defeated -- owes it to his party not to be a candidate again."

Many Republicans refused to accept Blaine's decision. They felt that if Blaine were nominated, he would run. Blaine replied: "If the presidential nomination is offered to me, I could not and would not accept it."

That was final. Blaine's supporters had to find someone else to nominate for president.

Fourteen men declared themselves to be candidates for the Republican nomination. A leading candidate was Senator John Sherman of Ohio. Another was former Senator Benjamin Harrison of Indiana.

Convention delegates voted several times. No man received enough votes to win the nomination. Then a message came from James Blaine. It said: "Nominate Harrison." On the eighth vote, the delegates did.

Benjamin Harrison was the grandson of the ninth President of the United States, William Henry Harrison. Benjamin was a lawyer. He had been a General in the Union Army during America's Civil War of the 1860s.

After nominating Harrison, the Republicans approved a strong policy statement on the tariff question. The statement said:

"We fully support the American system of protection. President Cleveland and his party serve the interests of Europe. We would support the interests of America. We would see all other taxes ended before we surrender any part of the protective tariff system."

Benjamin Harrison's campaign was well-organized.

His campaign workers went to businessmen who had become rich because of high protective tariffs. They asked for support, and the businessmen gave millions of dollars to the campaign. The businessmen also put pressure on the people who worked for them. They warned workers that if Cleveland were re-elected, there might be no more jobs.

Republican Party leaders took an active part in the campaign of 1888. They made speeches and led parades across the country. The party also printed millions of pamphlets that warned against what it called "Cleveland's free trade policies."

Grover Cleveland's campaign was not well-organized. It started slowly. It did not raise much money. No effort was made to answer Republican attacks on the tariff issue. And the president himself refused to campaign. He said he had more important things to do.

The Democrats also failed to stop the Republicans from buying votes on election day. In Indiana, for example, men were paid 15 dollars to vote for the Republican candidate. The Democrats bought votes, too. But they had less money to spend than the Republicans.

When the popular votes were counted, Cleveland had about one hundred thousand more than Harrison. But Harrison had more electoral votes. He won the election.

Grover Cleveland had mixed feelings about his defeat. He wanted to win, because he believed his policies were best for the country. He said he was not sorry that he had made tariffs the major issue in the campaign. "I do not regret it," he said. "It is better to be defeated battling for an honest idea, than to win by a cowardly trick."

When President Cleveland and his wife left the White House, Mrs. Cleveland said goodbye to the servants. She told one of them: "I want you to take good care of all the furniture and other things in the house. I want to find everything the same when we come back. four years from now."

The new president, Benjamin Harrison, had big political debts to re-pay. He understood this when he began organizing his administration. "When I came to power," Harrison said, "I found that my party's leaders had taken all the power for themselves. I could not name my own cabinet. They had sold every cabinet position to pay for the election."

The position of Secretary of State went to James Blaine, who had refused his party's requests to run for president. Blaine had served as Secretary of State under Presidents James Garfield and Chester Arthur.

The position of Postmaster General went to John Wanamaker. Wanamaker had raised most of the money for Harrison's campaign. He had given fifty thousand dollars of his own money. He planned to re-pay party supporters with jobs in the post office department.

During the campaign, Harrison had promised to enforce the civil service law that protected the job rights of government workers. He promised that workers would be removed only in the interests of better government.

Wanamaker and other party leaders criticized Harrison. They said they could not build a strong party organization without promising government jobs to voters.

So, President Harrison suspended the civil service laws that protected postal workers. Within a year, thirty thousand Democrats were removed from the department. Their jobs went to Republicans. The president then announced that the post office would, once again, be protected by the civil service laws.

Former President Cleveland had been troubled by the extra money in the federal treasury. This was tax money the government collected, but did not use. Most of the extra money came from high protective tariffs on imported products. Cleveland wanted to reduce the surplus by reducing the tariffs.

President Harrison decided to reduce the surplus, too. But he would do it by increasing government spending. not by cutting taxes. Congress agreed. It became the first Congress to spend one thousand million dollars.

Much of the money was spent on payments to men who had fought in the Union Army during the Civil War. These payments cost the government more than one hundred million dollars a year.

Congress also approved millions of dollars for government projects in the home states of important congressmen. This was called "pork barrel" spending. It paid for new roads, bridges, and government buildings -- for almost anything the congressmen wanted.

Congress reduced the surplus even more by approving money to build coastal defenses and to buy warships for the Navy.

The American Congress passed several historic pieces of legislation during Benjamin Harrison's administration: The Sherman Anti-Trust Act. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act. And the McKinley Tariff.

That will be our story next week.

You have been listening to THE MAKING OF A NATION, a program in Special English by the Voice of America. Your narrators were Shirley Griffith and Ray Freeman. Our program was written by Frank Beardsley.


Historical Events in 1888

    The Convention of Constantinople signed, guaranteeing free maritime passage through the Suez Canal during war and peace 1st performance of Caesar Franck's "Psyche"

Boxing Title Fight

Mar 10 Heavyweight Boxing champ John L. Sullivan draws Charlie Mitchell in 30 rounds

    Great blizzard of '88 strikes northeastern USA 2nd day of the Great blizzard of '88 in north east US (400 die) Great Blizzard of 1888 rages across the east coast of the USA and Canada Second largest snowfall in NYC history (21")

Event of Interest

Meeting of Interest

Apr 29 Old Kavallison, Congo: Henry Morton Stanley meets Emin Pasha

    1888 Moradabad hailstorm: hail stones allegedly as big as oranges kill 246 people and some 1600 sheep and cattle in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh Italy & Spain sign military covenant Édouard Lalo's opera "Le roi d'Ys" premieres in Paris 16th Preakness: F Littlefield aboard Refund wins in 2:49 Crouching start 1st used in track and field by Charles Sherrill of Yale DeWolf Hooper 1st recites "Casey at Bat" Princess Isabel of Brazil signs "Lei Auréa" abolishing slavery 14th Kentucky Derby: George Covington aboard MacBeth II wins in 2:38.00 CPR opens Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver, British Columbia Leroy Buffington patents a system to build skyscrapers

Event of Interest

Jun 5 US Democrats nominate Grover Cleveland for president

    Unusual Rio de la Plata Earthquake measures magnitude 5.5 22nd Belmont: Jim McLaughlin aboard Sir Dixon wins in 2:40.25 US Congress creates Department of Labor

Event of Interest

Jun 15 Wilhelm II becomes Emperor of Germany

    US National Championship Women's Tennis, Philadelphia Cricket Club: Bertha Townsend beats defending champion Ellen Hansell 6-3, 6-5

Catholic Encyclical

Jun 20 Pope Leo XIII publishes encyclical Libertas

Presidential Convention

Jun 23 Frederick Douglass is 1st African-American to be nominated for US Vice President

Presidential Convention

Jun 25 Republican Convention in Chicago nominates Benjamin Harrison

    First (known) recording of classical music made, Handel's Israel in Egypt on wax cylinder 1st organized rodeo competition held, Prescott, Arizona 118°F (48°C), Bennett, Colorado (state record) Pennsylvania's Monongehela River rises 32' after 24 hour rainfall Bandai volcano (Japan) erupts for 1st time in 1,000 years Wimbledon Men's Tennis: 3-time runner-up Ernest Renshaw wins his lone major title beats defending champion Herbert Lawford 6-3, 7-5, 6-0 Wimbledon Women's Tennis: Lottie Dod retains her title beating Blanche Bingley-Hillyard 6-3, 6-3 John Boyd Dunlop applies to patent pneumatic tire Philip Pratt unveils 1st American electric tricycle

Baseball Record

Aug 10 NY Giant pitcher Tim Keefe sets a 19 game winning streak record

Historic Invention

Aug 12 Bertha, wife of inventor Karl Benz, makes 1st motor tour

    Longest US men's single tennis tournament match Palmer Presbrey defeats T S Tailer, 19-21, 8-6, 6-1, 6-4, an 80 game 1st-round contest American inventor William Seward Burroughs patents the adding machine US National Championship Men's Tennis, Newport R.I.: Henry Slocum beats Howard Taylor 6-4, 6-1, 6-0 Lord Walsingham kills 1,070 grouse in a single day

Murder of Interest

Aug 31 The body of Jack the Ripper's first victim, Mary Ann Nichols, is found in Whitechapel in London's East End

Roll-film Camera

Sep 4 George Eastman patents the first roll-film camera & registers "Kodak"

Event of Interest

Sep 6 Queen Victoria grants William Mackinnon's Imperial British East Africa Company political & commercial rights

    Charles Turner becomes the first bowler to take 250 wickets in an English season - a feat since accomplished only by Tom Richardson (twice), J.T. Hearne, Wilfred Rhodes (twice) and Tich Freeman (six times).

Baby Incubator

Sep 7 Edith Eleanor McLean is 1st baby to be placed in an incubator at State Emigrant Hospital on Ward’s Island, New York

    In England the first six Football League matches ever are played. Easter Island / Rapa Nui in the Pacific is annexed by Chile Death of the Argentine politician Domingo Sarmiento, after whom the Latin American Teacher's Day is chosen. One of first known modern beauty contests held in Spa, Belgium Royal Court Theatre, London, opens

Event of Interest

Oct 3 Explorer Fridtjof Nansen and his team complete first known crossing of Greenland interior, arriving in Godthaab

    British Open Men's Golf, St Andrews: Scotsman Jack Burns wins his lone Open title by 1 stroke from Ben Sayers and David Anderson Jr Washington Monument opens for public admittance Teatotalers excursion train crushed, killing 64 at Mud Run, Pennsylvania

Event of Interest

Oct 15 German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche decides to write his autobiography "Ecce Homo" on his 44th birthday

Historic Invention

Oct 17 Thomas Edison files a patent for the Optical Phonograph (the first movie)

    Moshav Gederah is attacked by Arabs Chicago & All America baseball teams play exhibition in Auckland, NZ Pelham Bay Park in Bronx vested "World Championship" Baseball Series, Sportsman's Park, St. Louis St. Louis Browns rout NY Giants, 18-7 in Game 10 but lose series, 6-4

Event of Interest

Oct 29 Lord Salisbury grants Cecil Rhodes charter for British South Africa Company

    John J Loud patents ballpoint pen Ndebele-king Lobengula grants Cecil Rhodes, Mashonaland £100 per month Scottish vet John Boyd Dunlop patents pneumatic bicycle tyre Amsterdam: 1st concerto of Concert worker, under Willem Kes Benjamin Harrison (R-Sen-Ind) beats President Grover Cleveland (D), 233 electoral votes to 168, Cleveland receives slightly more votes Jack Ripper's 5th and probably last victim, Mary Jane Kelly, found on her bed St Andrews Golf Club, Yonkers NY, opens with just 6 holes USC Trojans (then Methodists) play their 1st football game

Music Premiere

Nov 17 Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony premieres in St Petersburg

    Willard Bundy patents timecard clock French Panama Canal Company fails Richard Wetherill and his brother in-law discover the ancient Anasazi ruins of Mesa Verde, Colorado Henry Morton Stanley's expedition reaches Fort Bodo, East-Africa Heavyweight boxing champ John L. Sullivan challenges Jake Kilrain

Event of Interest

Dec 23 Vincent van Gogh cuts off his left ear with a razor, after argument with fellow painter Paul Gauguin, and sends to a prostitute for safe keeping


Republicans nominate Benjamin Harrison, June 25, 1888

On this day in 1888, delegates to the Republican National Convention in Chicago nominated Benjamin Harrison of Indiana, a former Civil War general and recently retired senator, as their party’s candidate for president. In November, Harrison defeated Democratic incumbent Grover Cleveland to become the nation’s 23rd president.

Republicans sought to unite after their devastating 1884 loss to Cleveland. Yet as the convention opened in the city’s Civic Auditorium Building, no consensus existed on a standard-bearer. The main issue in the coming campaign would be free trade versus protectionism, with the GOP aligned in favor of protecting American manufacturing.

There was wide support voiced for former House Speaker James G. Blaine of Maine, who had come close to defeating Cleveland in 1884. In addition to Blaine and Harrison, potential nominees included Sen. John Sherman of Ohio Chauncey Mitchell Depew, president of the New York Central Railroad Gov. Jeremiah Rusk of Wisconsin former Treasury Secretary Walter Q. Gresham of Illinois Sen. William Boyd Allison of Iowa Philadelphia Mayor Edwin Fitler Sen. Joseph Hawley of Connecticut and former Gen. Russell Alexander Alger of Michigan, a lumber baron.

After the first ballot, Sherman led, with 229 of the 416 votes needed to win. By the fourth ballot, Sherman had inched up to 235 while Harrison had 216. The convention adjourned after the fifth ballot, giving party leaders Sunday to hammer out an agreement. The seventh ballot put Harrison ahead for the first time. On the eighth ballot, he received 544 votes to clinch the nomination.


A History of the Republican National Convention (or What the Hell is a Brokered Convention?)

41 times the men and (since 1892) women of the Republican Party have come together to accomplish 3 very important objectives. I won't go into the boring details about deciding party rules or the more exciting points of building party platforms, but rather the Presidential Nominations which grip the interest of America every four years.

Normally us Americans don't care about National Conventions since usually the job of nominating is already done and only the more boring objectives need to be completed. In fact if you are 40 years old or younger (as I suspect most of you reading this are) then you haven't had to worry about the Republican National Convention in the context of presidential nominations before.

First I think we should clarify some things. People have been throwing around terms like "brokered" and "contested" with seemingly no thought for what they actually mean. A contested convention is simply a convention where no candidate has received a majority of the delegates at the opening of the convention. A brokered convention is a convention where a candidate has still not been chosen after the first ballot, and the necessary wheeling and dealing begin. Brokered does not necessarily mean that there are going to be a dozen party leaders holed up in a cigar-smoke filled room drinking whiskey deciding who the next Republican nominee is going to be. In today's landscape most delegates are bound to a candidate for the first ballot after which they can vote for different nominees. The few unbound delegates can be the cause of a contested convention as was the case in the 1976 Republican Convention where both President Gerald Ford and then California Governor Ronald Reagan came into the Convention in an extremely tight race where both had failed to reach a majority. President Ford beat Governor Reagan 1187 to 1070, when Reagan's plan to select a more moderate running mate backfired allowing Ford to get the necessary delegates to win the nomination.

Now you might be wondering why 2016 is suddenly the time to start caring about the Convention, and the answer is only two words long. Donald Trump. You might be wondering how one millionaire can single-handedly make something relevant again after 40 years of obscurity. The answer lies in how polarizing Trump has been. Just look at the last two Republican primaries. Two moderate candidates John McCain and Mitt Romney faced little opposition once they were clearly the front runners of the campaign, as conservative voters of the party coalesced around a candidate that wasn't their first choice but was still palatable. This happened in reverse in elections like the 2000 and 1980 elections where the conservative candidate was accepted with open arms by the more moderate voters in the party. In this race however, the party has further split from 2 major wings into 3. The moderates have thrown their support behind Ohio Governor John Kasich and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. The Conservative side of the party has their candidate in Texas Senator Ted Cruz. However, a third wing of the Republican Party has risen. Some pundits have called it a Nationalist wing, and for the purposes of this post that's the word I will use to describe it. This wing has enthusiastically thrown its support behind Millionaire New York businessman and tv star Donald Trump.

Now the simplest reason we might end up with a contested or brokered convention is simply math. When there are only two candidates one must necessarily receive the majority while the other must necessarily receive the minority. However, if there are three or more major candidates it is possible for no one to get a majority of the votes which would lead to a contested convention. The more complicated answer for why Donald Trump could lead to a contested convention is the apparent unwillingness of both many moderates and conservatives to support Donald Trump even if he were to win. Instead of Donald Trump's front runner status leading to a coalescing behind him like Romney, McCain and Bush, the Trump opposition has dug in their heals harder leading to a #NeverTrump movement.

However, it is still unlikely that we will reach a contested convention. More likely scenarios seem to be that Trump keeps winning delegates at this rate and wins the nomination outright, or Kasich and Rubio drop out allowing Cruz to absorb their support and then catch and beat Trump. However, the third scenario is that all 4 manage to make it to the Convention without winning a majority of the delegates, causing the Republican's first contested Convention since President Ford beat then Governor Reagan.

Now Trump or Cruz could be close enough to the majority that the unbound delegates could swing the election in their favor on the first ballot. However, if that does not happen we could be dealing with the first brokered convention since the Democrats had one in the 50's and the first Republican one since 1948. Many pundits have commented on what they think might happen in a brokered convention, but I think the best place to look for answers is the past.

Out of 41 total Republican National Conventions only 12 have been contested. This is not totally surprising since the Republican Party has nominated a sitting President 12 times of which only one (the previously mentioned Ford vs. Reagan election) was contested. The first Republican Primary was held in 1856. The new coalition party of Northern Whigs, Free-Soilers, and anti-Slavery Democrats managed to elect folk hero and former California Senator John C. Fremont over Supreme Court Justice John McLean on the first ballot with little fuss.

The second Convention held in 1860 is probably the most important Convention in American history. In the Republican's first brokered convention former Illinois congressman Abraham Lincoln was elected on the 4th ballot over New York Senator William Seward. At this time in our nations history, delegates were much more loosely bound to their candidates it wasn't uncommon for single delegates to nominate their friends and for state delegations to all vote together for "favorite son" candidates on the first ballot, before the party got down to seriously determining a candidate. Their were 4 major candidates in this election Seward, Lincoln, Ohio Governor Salmon P. Chase and Missouri statesman Edward Bates. Pennsylvania Senator Simon Cameron actually came in third on the first ballot thanks to the large Pennsylvania delegation voting for their favorite son. By the second ballot Lincoln had managed to close the gap on Seward before finally inching past him on the third ballot. Many comparisons can be seen between this election and a hypothetical 4 man race between Trump, Cruz, Rubio and Kasich. Seward came in as the front runner, but was disliked by many of the other wings of the Republican Party. In this hypothetical that would play out with Trump as the front runner but his polarity being his downfall as his opponents coalesced around the 2nd more agreeable option which in this scenario would be Ted Cruz. In this scenario look for some of Rubio's and Kasich's delegates to begin moving toward Cruz on the second ballot before a landslide shift to Cruz on third ballot.

After 1860 the Republican Party had 3 straight uneventful Conventions as Lincoln was renominated followed by war hero Ulysses S. Grant being nominated to 2 straight. The 1876 election could be considered the start of the "brokered convention" era as it took seven ballots and around ten nominees before Rutherford B. Hayes was nominated. The 1880 Convention was a spectacular affair though and the longest in Republican history. Ulysses S. Grant decided to run for a unprecedented 3rd term after Rutherford B. Hayes declined to run for reelection. He came into the convention as the front runner but faced threats from James G. Blaine and John Sherman (the brother of William Tecumseh Sherman) for 35 ballots the vote tally changed little before Sherman and Blaine struck a deal to keep the nomination away from Grant and instead give it to dark horse candidate James A. Garfield. This scenario could play out with Trump being the undesirable front runner with Cruz and Rubio being his major threats. If the two can not decide between themselves after a good deal of ballots look for them to throw their combined strength behind the dark horse in Kasich. Scenarios like this played out in the 1888 election where dark horse Benjamin Harrison beat John Sherman, in 1920 with Warren Harding beating Leonard Wood, and in 1940 when Wendell L. Wilkie beat Thomas E. Dewey.

A third scenario took place at the 1884 Convention. James G. Blaine came in as the front runner ahead of President Chester A. Arthur and others and was slowly able to build support over 3 ballots before securing a majority on the 4th. Similar situations occurred in 1948 and 1952 with Thomas Dewey and Dwight Eisenhower coming in as the front runners before eventually securing the nomination.

The final perhaps disastrous scenario was embodied in the 1912 Convention. President William Taft and former President Teddy Roosevelt came into the election in a dead heat, before Taft was nominated for reelection. The wing of the party that backed Roosevelt was unhappy and left to create a third party. While this third party only lasted one election it did lead to Democrat Woodrow Wilson winning the election. While this only happened once at a Republican Convention it has happened multiple times at Democrat Conventions. For us this would mean someone other than Trump winning and Trump and his followers leaving to run third party. It could also manifest as Trump winning and moderates and conservatives leaving the party to back a third party candidate. I doubt this candidate would be Cruz, Kaisch, or Rubio because of their pledge to support the Republican candidate, but perhaps someone like Mitt Romney.


Benjamin Harrison: Campaigns and Elections

In the Mugwump revolt of reform Republicans against the candidacy of Senator James G. Blaine of Maine in 1884, Benjamin Harrison carefully walked the middle ground. Refusing to put his hat in the presidential ring, he eventually supported Blaine with energy and enthusiasm. In February 1887, Harrison lost reelection to the United States Senate in the new Democrat-controlled state legislature. (At this time United States senators were selected by the state legislatures rather than by popular vote. Only after passage of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913, which was part of the Progressive Era reforms, did this practice change.) One year later, Harrison announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, declaring himself (in reference to his lack of a power base) a "living and rejuvenated Republican." The words "Rejuvenated Republicanism" became the slogan of his presidential campaign.

At the Republican convention in Chicago in the summer of 1888, front-runner James G. Blaine, unable to secure the nomination for himself, threw his support to Harrison in the hope of uniting the party against the Democratic incumbent, Grover Cleveland. In the hotly contested nomination fight that followed, Harrison became everyone's second choice in a field of seven candidates. When Senator John Sherman of Ohio, the first choice, faltered in the balloting, Harrison's support surged ahead, winning him the nomination on the eighth ballot. The convention picked banker Levi P. Morton of New York as Harrison's running mate. The Democrats, at their national convention in St. Louis, rallied behind incumbent Grover Cleveland of New York and his running mate, Allen G. Thurman, the senator from Ohio.

The campaign of 1888 exhibited little of the hostility that had marked the 1884 race, when candidate Blaine had waged a whirlwind series of public appearances. President Cleveland made only one appearance in 1888. Harrison limited his speeches to front porch receptions in Indianapolis for a stream of carefully selected delegations and press reporters. While the two candidates did not personally campaign, their party organizations, in sharp contrast, did. The tone of the party-sponsored campaign was much more lively. There were posters, political cartoons, speeches, rallies, parades, brass bands, and torchlight demonstrations.

The race centered around the tariff issue, with Harrison speaking forcefully for a strong protective tariff, sound currency, pensions for Civil War veterans, and efficiency in office. A more emotional issue for the electorate was the bloody shirt legacy of the Civil War and Reconstruction, which remained as an unhealed scar in the American consciousness. Cleveland's promise to return captured Confederate flags to Southern states as a show of national unity (in contrast with Harrison's Civil War career) sparked into flame the dry kindling of Civil War sectionalism.

The election outcome gave President Cleveland approximately 90,000 popular votes more than Harrison, but Harrison carried the electoral college 233 to 168. Harrison's victory was based upon two swing states: New York and Indiana. Cleveland probably lost New York because of the anti-Tammany Hall reform measures that he carried out as President. Harrison had failed to carry his home city of Indianapolis, and for years after the election, there was political talk suggesting that his supporters had purchased votes in Indiana to win the state. In any case, Republicans increased their membership in the House of Representatives by fourteen seats, and they continued to control the Senate by a narrow margin. With the appointments of Republican justices to the Supreme Court, Harrison's party dominated all branches of the federal government for the first time in many years.

The Campaign and Election of 1892

In 1892, incumbent Harrison lost to Grover Cleveland in a dramatic turnaround of historic importance. For the first time in the nation's history, the two presidential candidates had both been President. Cleveland's victory, moreover, returned a defeated President to the White House for a second term—a historic first that has never been repeated. The Democrats also regained control of both chambers of Congress.

The seeds of Harrison's defeat in 1892 had been planted early in his administration. The Democrats had surged to power in the 1890 off-year elections by capturing the House of Representatives. Two years later, at the 1892 convention, a major revolt of party regulars threatened to deny Harrison his party's nomination. This threat remained effective only until James G. Blaine, who had broken with Harrison while serving as the President's secretary of state, refused to accept a presidential draft. Although Harrison won the nomination on the first ballot, Blaine and William McKinley of Ohio showed significant strength in the nomination voting, thus denying Harrison a united party ballot.

Harrison's difficulties within the party stemmed from his arbitrary treatment of party bosses and even its rank-and-file supporters. His frozen demeanor, refusal to listen to advice, standoffish behavior, and insensitivity to style and convention alienated even members of his own cabinet. He probably would not have stood for reelection but for his anger at the revolt within his party in support of Blaine, with whom he had become embittered.

As in the election of 1888, both candidates conducted unspectacular and modest campaigns. Cleveland refused to engage in an active or personal campaign when he learned of Mrs. Harrison's serious illness—from which she died on October 25, 1892, just two weeks before the election. Harrison limited himself to a few appearances in New York and New Jersey, two crucial swing states. Both candidates tried to ignore the rebellious third party, the Populists, or People's Party. The Populists nominated Civil War General James Weaver of Iowa, a former Greenback Party candidate, three-term member of the House of Representatives, and advocate of the free coinage of silver.

In the final tally, voters handed Cleveland the most decisive victory of any presidential candidate in twenty years. Cleveland beat Harrison by a margin of approximately 375,000 popular votes. The electoral college vote outcome was more dramatic, allowing Cleveland to win by nearly a two to one margin over Harrison. The Populists drew one million voters and twenty-two electoral ballots. Cleveland swept the Solid South and all four swing states: New York, New Jersey, Indiana, and Connecticut. He also carried Illinois and Wisconsin—this was the first time these states had gone Democratic since the Civil War.

Harrison's defeat stemmed from a lack of backing by his own party as well as from his failure to resolve three national issues. First, Harrison's support for the high McKinley Tariff of 1890 enraged millions. In the public's mind, higher prices seemed directly related to government protection of special corporate interests. Second, agrarian discontent in the South and West led thousands of farmers to look to the Populist Party as a political alternative. Third, a series of bloody labor strikes—at the silver mines in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and at Andrew Carnegie's steel mill in Homestead, Pennsylvania—linked Harrison to monopoly industrialists and bankers. For these reasons and others, voters felt that the President was uncaring and did not act appropriately on their behalf.

Equally important in explaining Harrison's 1892 defeat was the public dissatisfaction with the burst of Republican legislation during Harrison's first year in office. Republican Party leaders had considered the party's sweep in 1888 as a mandate for change. The long 303-day first session of the Fifty-first Congress enacted nearly the entire Republican platform. Flush with over $100 million of surplus revenues, Congress pushed through generous pensions for Civil War veterans, expanding the list of eligible recipients to noncombatant soldiers and the children of veterans. Known thereafter as the first "Billion Dollar" Congress, its surge of controversial Republican activism laid the groundwork for the disastrous reverses in public support for Harrison's party in the midterm elections of 1890 as well as his defeat at the hands of Cleveland in 1892.


Watch the video: 1888 Republican National Convention (September 2022).


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