1924 Democratic National Convention
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|1924 Presidential Election|
Davis and Bryan
|Date(s)||June 24 - July 9|
|City||New York, New York|
|Venue||Madison Square Garden|
|Presidential Nominee||John W. Davis of New York|
|Vice Presidential Nominee||Charles W. Bryan of Nebraska|
The 1924 Democratic National Convention, also called the Klanbake, held at the Madison Square Garden in New York City from June 24 to July 9, took a record 103 ballots to nominate a presidential candidate. It was the longest continuously running convention in United States political history. It was the first major party national convention that saw the name of a woman, Lena Springs, placed in nomination for the office of Vice President. It was also known for the strong influence of the Ku Klux Klan. John W. Davis, initially an outsider, eventually won the presidential nomination as a compromise candidate following a virtual war of attrition between front-runners William Gibbs McAdoo and Al Smith.
Davis and his vice presidential running-mate, Charles W. Bryan of Nebraska, went on to be defeated by the Republican ticket of President Calvin Coolidge and Charles G. Dawes in the 1924 presidential election.
Ku Klux Klan 
The Ku Klux Klan, a relic of post-Civil War Reconstruction, was resurrected after the 1915 release of D.W. Griffith's very popular motion picture The Birth of a Nation. After World War I, the popularity of the Klan surged, and it became a political power in many regions of the United States, particularly in the South. It was also popular in the border states, the Mountain States, and the West. Its local political strength gave it a major role in the 1924 Democratic Party National Convention (DNC). However, its participation was unwelcome by many DNC delegates, such as Catholics from the major cities of the Northeast and Midwest. The tension between pro- and anti-Klan delegates produced an intense and sometimes violent showdown between convention attendees from the states of Colorado and Missouri. Klan delegates opposed the nomination of New York Governor Al Smith because Smith was a Roman Catholic. Smith campaigned against William Gibbs McAdoo, who had the support of most Klan delegates.
KKK platform plank 
The second dispute of the convention revolved around an attempt by non-Klan delegates, led by Forney Johnston of Alabama, to condemn the organization for its violence in the Democratic Party's platform. Klan delegates defeated the platform plank in a series of floor debates. To celebrate, tens of thousands of hooded Klansmen rallied in a field in New Jersey opposite of the convention building. This event, known subsequently as the "Klanbake", was also attended by hundreds of Klan delegates to the convention, who burned crosses, urged violence and intimidation against African Americans and Catholics, and attacked effigies of Smith.
The notoriety of the Klanbake convention and the violence it produced cast a lasting shadow over the Democratic Party's prospects in the 1924 election and contributed to their defeat by incumbent Republican President Calvin Coolidge.
The first day of balloting (June 30) brought the predicted deadlock between the leading aspirants for the nomination, William G. McAdoo of California and Gov. Alfred E. Smith of New York, with the remainder divided mainly between local "favorite sons". McAdoo was the leader from the outset, and both he and Smith made small gains in the day's fifteen ballots, but the prevailing belief among the delegates was that the impasse could only be broken by the elimination of both McAdoo and Smith and the selection of one of the other contenders; much interest centred about the candidacy of John W. Davis, who also increased his vote during the day from 31 to 61 (with a peak of 64.5 votes on the 13th and 14th ballots). Most of the favorite son delegations refused to be stampeded to either of the leading candidates and were in no hurry to retire from the contest.
In the early balloting many delegations appeared to be jockeying for position, and some of the original votes were purely complimentary and seemed to conceal the real sentiments of the delegates. Louisiana, for example, which was bound by the "unit rule", first complimented its neighbour Arkansas by casting its 20 votes for Sen. Joseph T. Robinson, then it switched to Sen. Carter Glass, and on another ballot Gov. Albert C. Ritchie got the twenty, before the delegation finally settled on John W. Davis.
There was some excitement on the tenth ballot, when Kansas abandoned Gov. Jonathan M. Davis and threw its votes to McAdoo. There was an instant uproar among McAdoo delegates and supporters, and a parade was started around the hall, the Kansas standard leading, with those of all the other McAdoo states coming along behind, and pictures of "McAdoo, Democracy's Hope", being lifted up. After six minutes the chairman's gavel brought order and the roll call resumed, and soon the other side had something to cheer, when New Jersey made its favorite son, Gov. George S. Silzer, walk the plank and threw its votes into the Smith column. This started another parade, the New York and New Jersey standards leading those of the other Smith delegations around the hall while the band played "Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the Boys are Marching".
First ballot 
1. William G. McAdoo 431.5 votes (39.4%) 2. Alfred E. Smith 241 votes (22.0%) 3. James M. Cox 59 votes (5.4%) 4. Pat Harrison 43.5 votes (4.0%) 5. Oscar W. Underwood 42.5 votes (3.9%) 6. George S. Silzer 38 votes (3.5%) 7. John W. Davis 31 votes (2.8%) 8. Samuel M. Ralston 30 votes (2.7%) 9. Woodbridge N. Ferris 30 votes (2.7%) 10. Carter Glass 25 votes (2.3%) 11. Albert C. Ritchie 22.5 votes (2.1%) 12. Joseph T. Robinson 21 votes (1.9%) 13. Jonathan M. Davis 20 votes (1.8%) 14. Charles W. Bryan 18 votes (1.6%) 15. Fred H. Brown 17 votes (1.6%) 16. William Sweet 12 votes (1.1%) 17. Willard Saulsbury 7 votes (0.6%) 18. John Kendrick 6 votes (0.5%) 19. Houston Thompson 1 vote (0.1%)
Fifteenth ballot 
1. William G. McAdoo 479 votes (43.6%) 2. Alfred E. Smith 305.5 votes (27.8%) 3. John W. Davis 61 votes (5.6%) 4. James M. Cox 60 votes (5.5%) 5. Oscar W. Underwood 39.5 votes (3.6%) 6. Samuel M. Ralston 31 votes (2.8%) 7. Carter Glass 25 votes (2.3%) 8. Pat Harrison 20.5 votes (1.9%) 9. Joseph T. Robinson 20.5 votes (1.9%) 10. Albert C. Ritchie 17.5 votes (1.6%) 11. Jonathan M. Davis 11 votes (1.0%) 12. Charles W. Bryan 11 votes (1.0%) 13. Fred H. Brown 9 votes (0.8%) 14. Willard Saulsbury 6 votes (0.5%) 15. Thomas J. Walsh 1 vote (0.1%) Newton D. Baker 1 vote (0.1%)
Twentieth ballot 
1. William G. McAdoo 432 votes (39.5%) 2. Alfred E. Smith 307.5 votes (28.0%) 3. John W. Davis 122 votes (11.3%) 4. Oscar W. Underwood 45.5 votes (4.1%) 5. Samuel M. Ralston 30 votes (2.7%) 6. Carter Glass 25 votes (2.3%) 7. Joseph T. Robinson 21 votes (1.9%) 8. Albert C. Ritchie 17.5 votes (1.6%) 9. Others 97.5 votes (8.6%)
Thirtieth ballot 
1. William G. McAdoo 415.5 votes (37.7%) 2. Alfred E. Smith 323.5 votes (29.4%) 3. John W. Davis 126.5 votes (11.5%) 4. Oscar W. Underwood 39.5 votes (3.6%) 5. Samuel M. Ralston 33 votes (3.0%) 6. Carter Glass 24 votes (2.2%) 7. Joseph T. Robinson 23 votes (2.1%) 8. Albert C. Ritchie 17.5 votes (1.6%) 9. Others 95.5 votes (9.9%)
Forty-second ballot 
1. William G. McAdoo 503.4 votes (45.7%) 2. Alfred E. Smith 318.6 votes (28.9%) 3. John W. Davis 67 votes (6.0%) 4. Others 209.0 votes (19.4%)
Sixty-first ballot 
1. William G. McAdoo 469.5 votes (42.6%) 2. Alfred E. Smith 335.5 votes (30.5%) 3. John W. Davis 60 votes (5.4%) 4. Others 233 votes (21.5%)
Seventieth ballot 
1. William G. McAdoo 528.5 votes (48.0%) 2. Alfred E. Smith 334.5 votes (30.4%) 3. John W. Davis 67 votes (6.0%) 4. Others 170 votes (15.6%)
1. William G. McAdoo 513 votes (47.7%) 2. Alfred E. Smith 367 votes (33.3%) 3. John W. Davis 76.5 votes (6.9%) 4. Others 134 votes (12.1%)
1. Alfred E. Smith 361.5 votes (32.8%) 2. William G. McAdoo 333.5 votes (30.3%) 3. John W. Davis 66.5 votes (6.0%) 4. Others 336.5 votes (30.9%)
One hundredth ballot 
1. Alfred E. Smith 351.5 votes (32.4%) 2. John W. Davis 203.5 votes (18.7%) 3. William G. McAdoo 190 votes (17.5%) 4. Edwin T. Meredith 75.5 votes (7.0%) 5. Thomas J. Walsh 52.5 votes (4.8%) 6. Joseph T. Robinson 46 votes (4.2%) 7. Oscar W. Underwood 41.5 votes (3.8%) 8. Carter Glass 35 votes (3.2%) 9. Josephus Daniels 24 votes (2.2%) 10. Robert L. Owen 20 votes (1.8%) 11. Albert C. Ritchie 17.5 votes (1.6%) 12. James W. Gerard 10 votes (0.9%) 13. David F. Houston 9 votes (0.8%) 14. Willard Saulsbury 6 votes (0.6%) 15. Charles W. Bryan 2 votes (0.2%) 16. George L. Berry 1 vote (0.1%) 17. Newton D. Baker 1 vote (0.1%)
Vice Presidential Nomination 
- The first seconding address by a woman in either national political parties was given by Izetta Jewel at this convention, seconding John Davis.
- During his 1960 campaign, John F. Kennedy cited the dilemma of the Massachusetts delegation at the 1924 Democratic National Convention when making light of his own campaign problems : "Either we must switch to a more liberal candidate or move to a cheaper hotel."
- Both Franklin D. Roosevelt and Al Smith were filmed during the convention by Lee De Forest in DeForest's Phonofilm sound-on-film process. These films are in the Maurice Zouary collection at the Library of Congress.
See also 
- Robert K. Murray, The 103rd Ballot: Democrats and the Disaster in Madison Square Garden (NY: Harper & Row, 1976)
- "The Democratic Convention of 1924". Digital History. Archived from the original on 05 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-14.
- Allen, Lee N. “The McAdoo Campaign for the Presidential Nomination in 1924.” Journal of Southern History 29 (May 1963): 211-28.
- Izetta Jewel - .wvencyclopedia.org accessed September 1, 2012
- Teel, Ray, The Public Press, 1900-1945: The History of American Journalism - 2006; P. 109 accessed September 1, 2012
- Theodore White, The Making of the President 1960 (NY: Atheneum Publishers, 1961), p. ?
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