United States presidential election, 1892
|Presidential election results map. Red denotes states won by Harrison/Reid, Blue denotes those won by Cleveland/Stevenson Light green denotes those won by Weaver/Field. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.|
The United States presidential election of 1892 was the 27th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 8, 1892. It witnessed a re-match of the closely contested presidential election in 1888. Former President Grover Cleveland and incumbent President Benjamin Harrison both ran for re-election to a second term. In 1888, Cleveland won the popular vote over Harrison, but lost in the electoral college, thus losing the election. In this re-match, Cleveland won both the popular and electoral vote, thus becoming the only person in American history to be elected to a second, non-consecutive presidential term.
The campaign centered mainly on the issue of a sound currency. The new Populist Party, formed by groups from The Grange, the Farmers' Alliances, and the Knights of Labor, polled more than a million votes, but Cleveland won easily.
As of 1892, Cleveland was the only presidential candidates except Andrew Jackson to win the popular vote in three U.S. presidential elections. In the twentieth century, Franklin Delano Roosevelt also achieved this distinction (and exceeded it by winning the popular vote in four consecutive elections as of 1944). Cleveland also became the first Democrat to be nominated by his party three consecutive times, a distinction that would be equaled only by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940, then surpassed when Roosevelt was nominated by his party for a fourth time in 1944. Although William Jennings Bryan was nominated for a third time in 1908, it was not consecutive with his nominations in 1896 and 1900.
Republican Party nomination 
- Benjamin Harrison, President of the United States from Indiana
- James G. Blaine, former U.S. Secretary of State from Maine
- William McKinley, governor of Ohio
Candidates gallery 
Benjamin Harrison's administration was widely viewed as unsuccessful, and as a result, Thomas C. Platt (a political boss in New York) and other disaffected party leaders mounted a dump-Harrison movement coalescing around veteran candidate James G. Blaine of Maine. Nonetheless, the president's forces had the nomination locked up by the time delegates met in Minneapolis on June 7–10, 1892. Richard Thomas of Indiana delivered Harrison's nominating speech. Harrison was nominated on the first ballot with 535.17 votes to 182.83 for Blaine, 182 for William McKinley of Ohio, and the rest scattered. The strength of McKinley, nominally a favorite-son candidate, surprised many observers. Whitelaw Reid of New York, editor of the New York Tribune and recent U.S. Ambassador to France, was nominated for vice-president.
The Republican platform supported high tariffs, bimetallism, stiffer immigration laws, free rural mail delivery, and a canal across Central America. It also expressed sympathy for the Irish Home Rule Movement and the plight of Jews under persecution in czarist Russia.
|James G. Blaine||182.83|
|Thomas B. Reed||4|
|Robert Todd Lincoln||1|
|Vice Presidential Ballot|
Democratic Party nomination 
- Grover Cleveland, Former President of the United States from New York
- David B. Hill, U.S. senator from New York
- Horace Boies, governor of Iowa
Candidates gallery 
By the end of Harrison's term, many Americans were ready to return to Cleveland's political policies. As Democrats convened in Chicago, Illinois on June 8–11, 1892, Cleveland was the frontrunner for the nomination, but faced formidable opposition. He had come out against the free coinage of silver, thereby earning the enmity of Western and Southern Democrats. Most damaging of all was the opposition of his home state; the New York delegation, packed with Tammany men, frequently demonstrated their hostility to Cleveland's candidacy on the convention floor.
In a narrow first-ballot victory, Cleveland received 617.33 votes, barely 10 more than needed, to 114 for Senator David B. Hill of New York, the candidate of Tammany Hall, 103 for Governor Horace Boies of Iowa, a populist and former Republican, and the rest scattered. Although the Cleveland forces preferred Isaac P. Gray of Indiana for vice-president, they accepted the convention favorite, Adlai E. Stevenson of Illinois. As a supporter of using greenbacks and free silver to inflate the currency and alleviate economic distress in rural districts, Stevenson balanced the ticket headed by Cleveland, the hard-money, gold standard supporter.
|David B. Hill||114|
|Arthur Pue Gorman||36.5|
|Adlai E. Stevenson||16.67|
|John G. Carlisle||14|
|William Ralls Morrison||3|
|James E. Campbell||2|
|Robert E. Pattison||1|
|William Collins Whitney||1|
|Vice Presidential Ballot|
|1st Before Shifts||1st After Shifts||Unanimous|
|Adlai E. Stevenson||402||652||910|
|Isaac P. Gray||343||185|
|Allen B. Morse||86||62|
|John L. Mitchell||45||10|
|William Bourke Cockran||5||0|
Source: Official proceedings of the National Democratic Convention, held in Chicago, Ill., June 21st, 22nd and 23rd, 1892. (September 3, 2012).
People's Party nomination 
Candidates gallery 
In 1891, the farmers' alliances met with delegates from labor and reform groups in Cincinnati, Ohio, and discussed forming a new political party. They formed the People's Party, commonly known as the "Populists," a year later in St. Louis, Missouri.
At the first Populist national convention in Omaha, Nebraska, in July 1892, James B. Weaver of Iowa was nominated for president on the first ballot. James G. Field of Virginia was nominated for vice-president. The Populist platform called for nationalization of the telegraph, telephone, and railroads, free coinage of silver, a graduated income tax, and creation of postal savings banks.
|James B. Weaver||995|
|James H. Kyle||265|
|Vice Presidential Ballot|
|James G. Field||733|
|Ben Stockton Terrell||554|
Prohibition Party nomination 
- John Bidwell, former U.S. representative from California
- Gideon T. Stewart, Prohibition Party Chairman from Ohio
- William Jennings Demorest, magazine publisher from New York
Candidates gallery 
Two major stories about the convention loomed before it assembled. In the first place, some members of the national committee sought to merge the Prohibition and Populist Parties. While there appeared a likelihood that the merger would materialize, by convention time it was clear that it was not going to happen. Secondly, the southern states sent a number of black delegates. Cincinnati hotels refused to serve meals to blacks and whites at the same time, and several hotels refused all service to the black delegates.
The convention nominated John Bidwell of California for president on the first ballot. Prior to the convention, the race was thought to be close between Bidwell and William Jennings Demorest, but the New York delegation became irritated with Demorest and voted for Bidwell 73-7. James B. Cranfill of Texas was nominated for vice-president on the first ballot with 417 votes to 351 for Joshua Levering of Maryland and 45 for others.
|Gideon T. Stewart||179|
|William Jennings Demorest||139|
|H. Clay Bascom||3|
Socialist Labor Party Nomination 
General election 
The tariff issue dominated this rather lackluster campaign. Harrison defended the protectionist McKinley Tariff passed during his term: Cleveland, assuring voters that he opposed absolute free trade, continued his campaign for a reduction in the tariff. William McKinley campaigned extensively for Harrison, setting the stage for his own run four years later.
The campaign took a somber turn when, in October, First Lady Caroline Harrison died. Despite the ill health that had plagued Mrs. Harrison since her youth and had worsened in the last decade, she often accompanied Mr. Harrison on official travels. On one such trip, to California in the spring of 1891, she caught a cold. It quickly deepened into her chest, and she was eventually diagnosed with tuberculosis. A summer in the Adirondack Mountains failed to restore her to health. An invalid the last six months of her life, she died in the White House on October 25, 1892, just two weeks before the national election. As a result, all of the candidates ceased campaigning.
The margin in the popular vote for Cleveland was 400,000, the largest since Grant's re-election in 1872. The Democrats won the presidency and both houses of Congress for the first time since the Civil War. President Harrison's re-election bid was a decisive loss in both the popular and electoral count, unlike President Cleveland's re-election bid four years earlier, in which he won the popular vote, but lost the electoral vote. Cleveland was the third of only five presidents to win re-election with a smaller percentage of the popular vote than in previous elections, although in the two prior such incidents—James Madison in 1812 and Andrew Jackson in 1832—not all states held popular elections. Ironically, Cleveland saw his popular support decrease not only from his electoral win in 1884, but also from his electoral loss in 1888. A similar vote decrease would happen again for Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940 and 1944 and Barack Obama in 2012.
At the county level, the Democratic candidate fared much better than the Republican candidate. The Republicans' vote was not nearly as widespread as the Democrats. In 1892, it was still a sectionally based party mainly situated in the East, Midwest, and West and was barely visible south of the Mason-Dixon Line. In only a few counties in the South was the party holding on. In East Tennessee and tidewater Virginia, the vote at the county level showed some strength, but it barely existed in Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas.
Of the 2,683 counties making returns, Cleveland won in 1,389 (51.77%), Harrison carried 1,017 (37.91%), while Weaver placed first in 276 (10.29%). One county (0.04%) split evenly between Cleveland and Harrison.
Populist James B. Weaver, calling for free coinage of silver and an inflationary monetary policy, received such strong support in the West that he become the only third-party nominee between 1860 and 1912 to carry a single state. The Democratic Party did not have a presidential ticket on the ballot in the states of Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, North Dakota, or Wyoming, and Weaver won the first three of these states. Weaver also narrowly missed carrying the state of Nebraska, losing there by a bare 100 votes.
Weaver also performed well in the South as he won counties in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas. Populists did best in Alabama, where electoral chicanery probably carried the day for the Democrats.
The Prohibition ticket received 270,879, or 2.2% nationwide. It was the largest total vote and highest percentage of the vote received by any Prohibition Party national ticket.
Wyoming, having attained statehood two years earlier, became the first state to allow women to vote in a presidential election since 1804. (Women in New Jersey had the right to vote under the state's original constitution, but this right was rescinded in 1807.)
Wyoming was also one of six states (along with North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, and Idaho) participating in their first presidential election—other than the first election, the most in American history.
This was the first election in which incumbent presidents were defeated in two consecutive elections. This would not happen again until 1980.
|Presidential candidate||Party||Home state||Popular vote||Electoral
|Count||Pct||Vice-presidential candidate||Home state||Elect. vote|
|Grover Cleveland||Democratic||New York||5,553,898||46.02%||277||Adlai E. Stevenson||Illinois||277|
|Benjamin Harrison||Republican||Indiana||5,190,819||43.01%||145||Whitelaw Reid||New York||145|
|James B. Weaver||Populist||Iowa||1,026,595||8.51%||22||James G. Field||Virginia||22|
|John Bidwell||Prohibition||California||270,879||2.24%||0||James Cranfill||Texas||0|
|Simon Wing||Socialist Labor||Massachusetts||21,173||0.18%||0||Charles Matchett||New York||0|
|Needed to win||223||223|
Results by state 
|States won by Cleveland/Stevenson|
|States won by Harrison/Reid|
|States won by Weaver/Field|
Close states 
Margin of victory less than 5% (193 electoral votes):
- California, 0.05%
- Ohio, 0.13%
- North Dakota, 0.50%
- Indiana, 1.29%
- Delaware, 1.35%
- Wisconsin, 1.68%
- Kansas, 1.81%
- Nebraska, 2.04%
- West Virginia, 2.44%
- Montana, 2.66%
- Illinois, 3.09%
- Connecticut, 3.26%
- New York, 3.41%
- New Hampshire, 4.00%
- Wyoming, 4.37%
- New Jersey, 4.43%
- Michigan, 4.52%
- Rhode Island, 4.96%
Margin of victory between 5% and 10% (101 electoral votes):
- Iowa, 5.29%
- Pennsylvania, 6.36%
- Massachusetts, 6.65%
- Missouri, 7.52%
- Washington, 7.57%
- Minnesota, 8.20%
- Idaho, 9.90%
- Maryland, 9.91%
Geography of Results 
Cartographic Gallery 
Cartogram of presidential election results by county.
See also 
- American election campaigns in the 19th century
- History of the United States (1865-1918)
- History of the United States Democratic Party
- History of the United States Republican Party
- William DeGregorio, The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents, Gramercy 1997
- Adlai Ewing Stevenson, 23rd Vice President (1893-1897), http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/generic/VP_Adlai_Stevenson.htm
- The Gilded Age: Perspectives on the Origins of Modern America, Edited by Charles W. Calhoun, pg. 275
- Presidential Elections, 1789-2008: County, State, and National Mapping of Election Data, Donald R. Deskins, Jr., Hanes Walton, Jr., and Sherman C. Puckett, pg. 250
- Nathan Fine, Farmer and Labor Parties in the United States, 1828-1928. New York: Rand School of Social Science, 1928; pg. 79.
- "1892 Presidential General Election Data - National". Retrieved May 7, 2013.
- Faulkner, Harold U. (1959). Politics, Reform and Expansion, 1890–1900. New York: Harper.
- Jensen, Richard (1971). The Winning of the Midwest: Social and Political Conflict, 1888–1896. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-39825-0.
- Josephson, Matthew (1938). The Politicos: 1865–1896. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co.
- Keller, Morton (1977). Affairs of State: Public Life in Late Nineteenth Century America. Cambridge: Belknap Press. ISBN 0-674-00721-2.
- Kleppner, Paul (1979). The Third Electoral System 1853–1892: Parties, Voters, and Political Cultures. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-1328-1.
- Knoles, George H. (1942). The Presidential Campaign and Election of 1892. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
- Loewen, James (1995). Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. New York: New Press. p. 158. ISBN 1-56584-100-X.
- Morgan, H. Wayne (1969). From Hayes to McKinley: National Party Politics, 1877–1896. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.
- Oberholtzer, Ellis P. (1917–37). A History of the United States since the Civil War 5. New York: Macmillan.
- Rhodes, James Ford (1920). History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the Mckinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 8. New York: Macmillan.
- 1892 popular vote by counties
- 1892 State-by-state Popular vote
- Overview of 1892 Democratic National Convention
- How close was the 1892 election? — Michael Sheppard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology