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 Democratic President Grover Cleveland and incumbent Republican 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 new Populist Party, formed by groups from The Grange, the Farmers' Alliances, and the Knights of Labor, also fielded a ticket; they polled best in the West, winning a total of 22 electoral votes.
The campaign centered mainly on economic issues, especially the concept of a sound currency. Cleveland was a proponent of the gold standard, while the Republicans and Populists both supported bimetalism. Cleveland also ran on a platform of lowering tariffs (the Republicans were strongly protectionist) and opposed the Republicans' 1890 voting rights proposal.
As of 1892, Cleveland was the only presidential candidate 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 times, a distinction matched later only by Franklin D. Roosevelt and William Jennings Bryan.
- 1 Nominations
- 1.1 Republican Party nomination
- 1.2 Democratic Party nomination
- 1.3 People's Party nomination
- 1.4 Prohibition Party nomination
- 1.5 Socialist Labor Party Nomination
- 2 General election
- 3 See also
- 4 References
- 5 External links
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
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, a favorite of Republican party regulars. Privately Harrison did not want to be renominated for the Presidency, but he remained opposed to the nomination going to Blaine who he was convinced intended to run, and thought himself the only candidate capable of preventing such an occurrence. Blaine however did not relish another fight for the nomination, nor did he want it. His health had begun to fail and three of his children had recently died, Walker and Alice in 1890, and Emmons in 1892. Blaine refused to actively run, but the cryptic nature of his responses to a draft effort fueled speculation that he was not averse to such a movement. This was not helped when Benjamin Harrison curtly demanded that he either renounce his supporters or resign his position as Secretary of State, with Blaine choosing the latter a scare three days before the National Convention. A boom began to build around the "draft Blaine" effort with supporters hoping to cause a break towards their candidate.
Senator John Sherman of Ohio, who had been the leading candidate for the nomination at the 1888 Republican Convention before Harrison's nomination, was also brought up again as a possible challenger. Like Blaine however he was averse to another bitter battle for the nomination and "am in respect like the rebels down South, want to be let alone." This inevitably turned attention to Ohio's Governor William McKinley who, despite his feelings toward Harrison and popularity among the base, was indecisive as to his intentions. He was not averse to receiving the nomination, but did not expect to win it either. However, should Blaine and Harrison fail to attain the nomination after a number of ballots, he felt he could be brought forth as a harmony candidate. Despite Mark Hanna's urgings McKinley would not openly put himself out as a potential candidate, afraid of offending Harrison and Blaine's supporters, while also feeling that the coming elections would not favor the Republicans.
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. McKinley had protested when the Ohio delegation had thrown its entire vote in his name, despite not being formally nominated, but Joseph Foraker who headed the delegation managed to silence him on a point of order. With the ballots counted, many observers were surprised at the strength of the McKinley vote, nearly having overtaken Blaine. Whitelaw Reid of New York, editor of the New York Tribune and recent U.S. Ambassador to France, was nominated for vice-president over Vice President Levi Morton who, while supported by many at the convention including Reid himself, did not wish to serve another term.
|Presidential Ballot||Vice Presidential Ballot|
|Benjamin Harrison||535.17||Whitelaw Reid||906|
|James G. Blaine||182.83|
|Thomas B. Reed||4|
|Robert Todd Lincoln||1|
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.
Republican Party Platform
||This section contains too many or too-lengthy quotations for an encyclopedic entry. (November 2013)|
- The representatives of the Republicans of the United States, assembled in general convention on the shores of the Mississippi River, the everlasting bond of an indestructible Republic, whose most glorious chapter of history is the record of the Republican Party, congratulate their countrymen on the majestic march of the nation under the banners inscribed with the principles of our platform of 1888, vindicated by victory at the poll and prosperity in our fields, workshops and mines, and make the following declaration of principles:
- We reaffirm the American doctrine of protection. We call attention to its growth abroad. We maintain that the prosperous condition of our country is largely due to the wise revenue legislation of the Republican Congress.
- We believe that all articles which cannot be produced in the United States, except luxuries, should be admitted free of duty, and that all imports coming into competition with the products of American labor, there should be levied duties equal to the difference between wages abroad and at home. We assert that the prices of manufactured articles of general consumption have been reduced under the operations of the tariff act of 1890.
- We denounce the efforts of the Democratic majority of the House of Representatives to destroy our tariff laws by piecemeal, as manifested by their attacks upon wool, lead and lead ores, the chief products of a number of States, and we ask the people for their judgement thereon.
- We point to the success of the Republican policy of reciprocity, under which our export trade has vastly increased and new and enlarged markets have been opened for the products of our farms and workshops. We remind the people of the bitter opposition of the Democratic party to this practical business measure, and claim that, executed by a Republican administration, our present laws will eventually give us control of the trade of the world.
- The American people, from tradition and interest, favor bi-metallism, and the Republican party demands the use of both gold and silver as standard money, with such restrictions and under such provisions, to be determined by legislation, as will secure the maintenance of the parity of values of the two metals so that the purchasing and debt-paying power of the dollar, whether of silver, gold, or paper, shall be at all times equal. The interests of the producers of the country, its farmers and its workingmen, demand that every dollar, paper or coin, issued by the government, shall be as good as any other.
- We commend the wise and patriotic steps already taken by our government to secure an international conference, to adopt such measures as will insure a parity of value between gold and silver for use as money throughout the world.
- We demand that every citizen of the United States shall be allowed to cast one free and unrestricted ballot in all public elections, and that such ballot shall be counted and returned as cast; that such laws shall be enacted and enforced as will secure to every citizen, be he rich or poor, native or foreign-born, white or black, this sovereign right, guaranteed by the Constitution. The free and honest popular ballot, the just and equal representation of all the people, as well as their just and equal protection under the laws, are the foundation of our Republican institutions, and the party will never relax its efforts until the integrity of the ballot and the purity of elections shall be fully guaranteed and protected in every State.
- We denounce the continued inhuman outrages perpetrated upon American citizens for political reasons in certain Southern States of the Union.
- We favor the extension of our foreign commerce, the restoration of our mercantile marine by home-built ships, and the creation of a navy for the proctection of our National interests and the honor of our flag; the maintenance of the most friendly relations with all foreign powers; entangling alliances with none; and the protection of the rights of our fishermen.
- We reaffirm our approval of the Monroe Doctrine and believe in the achievement of the manifest destiny of the Republic in its broadest sense.
- We favor the enactment of stringent laws and regulations for the restriction of criminal, pauper and contract immigration.
- We favor efficient legislation by Congress to protect the life and limbs of employees of transportation companies engaged in carrying inter-State commerce, and recommend legislation by the respective States that will protect employees engaged in State commerce, in mining and manufacturing.
- The Republican party has always been the champion of the oppressed and recognizes the dignity of manhood, irrespective of faith, color, or nationality; it sympathizes with the cause of home rule in Ireland, and protests against the persecution of the Jews in Russia.
- The ultimate reliance of free popular government is the intelligence of the people, and the maintenance of freedom among men. We therefore declare anew our devotion to liberty of thought and conscience, of speech and press, and approve all agencies and instrumentalities which contribute to the eduction of the children of the land, but while insisting upon the fullest measure of religious liberty, we are opposed to any union of Church and State.
- We reaffirm our opposition, declared in the Republican platform of 1888, to all combinations of capital organized in trusts or otherwise, to control arbitrarily the condition of trade among our citizens.
- We heartily indorse the action already taken upon this subject, and ask for further such legislation as may be required to remedy any defects in existing laws, and to render their enforcement more complete and effective.
- We approve the policy of extending to towns, villages and rural communities the advantages of the free delivery service, now enjoyed by the larger cities of the country, and reaffirm the declaration contained in the Republican platform of 1888, pledging the reduction of letter postage to 1 cent at the earliest possible moment consistent with the maintenance of the Post Office Department and the highest class of postal service.
- We commend the spirit and evidence of reform in the civil service, and the wise and consistent enforcement by the Republican party of the laws regulating the same.
- The construction of the Nicaragua Canal is of the highest importance to the American people, both as a measure of National defense and to build up and maintain American commerce, and it should be controlled by the United States Government.
- We favor the admission of the remaining Territories at the earliest practicable date, having due regard to the interests of the people of the Territories and of the United States. All the Federal officers appointed for the Territories should be selected from bona-fide residents thereof, and the right of self-government should be accorded as far as practicable.
- We favor the cession, subject to the homestead laws, of the arid public lands, to the States and Territories in which they lie, under such Congressional restrictions as to disposition, reclamation and occupancy of settlers as will secure the maximum benefits to the people.
THE COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION
- The World's Columbian Exposition is a great national undertaking, and Congress should promptly enact such reasonable legislation in aid thereof as will insure a discharge of the expenses and obligations incident thereto, and the attainment of results commensurate with the dignity and progress of the Nation.
- We sympathize with all wise and legitimate efforts to lessen and prevent the evils of intemperance and promote morality.
- Ever mindful of the services and sacrifices of the men who saved the life of the Nation, we pledge anew to the veteran soldiers of the Republic a watchful care and recognition of their just claims upon a grateful people.
- We commend the able, patriotic and thoroughly American administration of President Harrison. Under it the country has enjoyed remarkable prosperity and dignity and honor of the Nation, at home and abroad, have been faithfully maintained, and we offer the record of pledges kept as a guarantee of faithful performance in the future.
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
By the beginning of 1892, many Americans were ready to return to Cleveland's political policies. While the clear frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, he was far from the universal choice of the party's supporters; many like Henry Watterson and Charles Dana thought that if he were to attain the nomination their party would lose in November, but there were few capable of challenging him effectively. Though he had remained relatively quiet on the issue of silver versus gold, often deferring to bi-metallism, Senate Democrats in January 1891 voted for free coinage of silver. Furious, he sent a letter to Ellery Anderson who headed the New York Reform Club, condemning the party's apparent drift towards inflation and agrarian control, the "dangerous and reckless experiment of free, unlimited coinage of silver at our mints." Adviser's warned that such statements might alienate potential supporters in the South and West and risk his chances for the nomination, but Cleveland felt that being right on the issue was more important than the nomination. After making his position clear Cleveland worked to focus his campaign on tariff reform, hoping that the silver issue would dissipate.
A challenger emerged in the form of David Hill, former Governor and incumbent Senator of New York. In favor of bi-metallism and tariff reform, Hill hoped to make inroads with Cleveland's supporters while appealing to those in the South and Midwest that were not keen on nominating Cleveland for a third consecutive time; Hill had unofficially begun running for the position as early as 1890, and even offered former Postmaster General Donald Dickinson his support for the Vice Presidential nomination. However he was not able to escape his past association with Tammany Hall which he supported as well as machine politics, and the lack of confidence in his ability to defeat Cleveland for the nomination kept Hill from attaining the support he needed. By the time of the convention Cleveland had carried the support of majority of the state Democratic parties, though his native New York remained pledged to Senator Hill.
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, Cleveland directed his own support to 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. At the same time it was hoped that his nomination would represent a promise not to ignore regulars, and so potentially get Hill and Tammany Hall to support the Democratic ticket to their fullest in the coming election.
|Presidential Ballot||Vice Presidential Ballot|
|1st||Unanimous||1st Before Shifts||1st After Shifts||Unanimous|
|Grover Cleveland||617.33||910||Adlai E. Stevenson||402||652||910|
|David B. Hill||114||Isaac P. Gray||343||185|
|Horace Boies||103||Allen B. Morse||86||62|
|Arthur Pue Gorman||36.5||John L. Mitchell||45||10|
|Adlai E. Stevenson||16.67||Henry Watterson||26||0|
|John G. Carlisle||14||William Bourke Cockran||5||0|
|William Ralls Morrison||3||Horace Boies||1||0|
|James E. Campbell||2||Lambert Tree||1||0|
|Robert E. Pattison||1||Blank||1||1|
|William Collins Whitney||1|
Source: Official proceedings of the National Democratic Convention, held in Chicago, Ill., June 21st, 22nd and 23rd, 1892. (September 3, 2012).
Democratic Party Platform
||This section contains too many or too-lengthy quotations for an encyclopedic entry. (November 2013)|
- The representatives of the Democratic party of the United States, in National Convention assembled, do reaffirm their allegiance to the principles of the party, as formulated by Jefferson and exemplified by the long and illustrious line of his successors in Democratic leadership, from Madison to Cleveland; we believe the public welfare demands that these principles be applied to the conduct of the Federal Government, through the accession to power of the party that advocates them; and we solemnly declare that the need of a return to these fundamental principles of free popular government, based on home rule and individual liberty, was never more urgent than now, when the tendency to centralize all power at the Federal capital has become a menace to the reserved rights of the States that strikes at the very roots of our Government under the Constitution as framed by the fathers of the Republic.
- We warn the people of our common country, jealous for the preservation of their free institutions, that the policy of Federal control of elections, to which the Republican party has committed itself, is fraught with the gravest of dangers, scarcely less momentous than would result from a revolution practically establishing a monarchy on the ruins of the Republic. It strikes at the North as well as at the South, and injures the colored citizen even more than the white; it means a horde of deputy marshals at every polling place, armed with Federal power; returning boards appointed and controlled by Federal authority, the outrage of the electoral rights of the people in the several States, the subjugation of the colored people to the control of the party in power, and the reviving of race antagonisms, now happily abated, of the utmost peril to the safety and happiness of all; a measure deliberately and justly described by a leading Republican Senator as "The most infamous bill that ever cross the threshold of the Senate." Such a policy, if sanctioned by law, would mean the dominance of a self-perpetuating oligarchy of office-holders, and the party first intrusted with its machinery could be dislodged from power only by an appeal to the reserved right of the people to resist oppression, which is inherent in all self-governing communities. Two years ago this revolutionary policy was emphatically condemned by the people at the polls, but in contempt of that verdict the Republican party has defiantly declared in its latest authoritative utterance that its success in the coming elections will mean enactment of the Force Bill and the usurpation of despotic control over elections in all the States.
- Believing that the preservation of Republican government in the United States is dependent upon the defeat of this policy of legalized force and fraud, we invite the support of all citizens who desire to see the Constitution maintained in its integrity with the laws pursuant thereto, which have given our country a hundred years of unexampled prosperity; and we pledge the Democratic party, if it be intrusted with power, not only to the defeat of the Force Bill, but also to relentless opposition to the Republican policy of profligate expenditure, which, in the shirt space of two years, has squandered an enormous surplus and emptied an overflowing Treasury, after piling new burdens of taxation upon the already overtaxed labor of the country.
- We denounce Republican protection as fraud, a robbery of the great majority of the American people for the benefit of the few. We declare it to be a fundamental principle of the Democratic party that the Federal Government has no constitutional power to impose and collect tariff duties, except for the purpose of revenue only, and we demand that the collection of such taxes shall be limited to the necessities of the Government when honestly and economically administered.
- We denounce the McKinley tariff law enacted by the Fifty-first Congress as the culminating atrocity of class legislation; we indorse the efforts made by the Democrats of the present Congress to modify its most oppressive features in the direction of free raw materials and cheaper manufactured goods that enter into general consumption; and we promise its repeal as one of the beneficent results that will follow the action of the people in intrusting power to the Democratic party. Since the McKinley tariff went into operation there have been ten reductions of the wages of the laboring man to one increase. We deny that there has been an increase of prosperity to the country since that tariff went into operation, and we point to the fullness and distress, the wage reductions and strikes in the iron trade, as the best possible evidence that no such prosperity has resulted from the McKinley Act.
- We call the attention of thoughtful Americans to the fact that after thirty years of restrictive taxes against the importation of foreign wealth, in exchange for our agricultural surplus, the homes and farms of the country have become burdened with a real estate mortgage debt of over $2,500,000,000, exclusive of all other forms of indebtedness; that in one of the chief agricultural states of the West there appears a real estate mortgage debt averaging $165 per capita of the total population, and that similar conditions and tendencies are shown to exist in other agricultural-exporting States. We denounce a policy which fosters no industry so much as it does that of the Sheriff.
- Trade interchange, on the basis of reciprocal advantages to the countries participating, is a time-honored doctrine of the Democratic faith, but we denounce the sham reciprocity which juggles with the people's desires for enlarged foreign markets and freer exchanges by pretending to establish closer trade relations for a country whose articles of export are almost exclusively agricultural products with other countries that are also agricultural, while erecting a custom=house barrier of prohibitive tariff taxes against the richest countries of the world, that stand ready to take our entire surplus of products, and to exchange therefor commodities which are necessaries and comforts of life among our own people.
- We recognize in the Trusts and Combinations, which are designed to enable capital to secure more than its just share of the joint product of Capital and Labor, a natural consequence of the prohibitive taxes, which prevent the free competition, which is the life of honest trade, but believe their worst evils can be abated by law, and we demand the rigid enforcement of the laws made to prevent and control them, together with such further legislation in restraint of their abuses as experience may show to be necessary.
- The Republican party, while professing a policy of reserving the public land for small holdings by actual settlers, has given away the people's heritage, till now a few railroads and non-resident aliens, individual and corporate, possess a larger area than that of all our farms between the two seas. The last Democratic administration reversed the improvident and unwise policy of the Republican party touching the public domain, and reclaimed from corporations and syndicates, alien and domestic, and restored to the people nearly one hundred million (100,000,000) acres of valuable land, to be sacredly held as homesteads for our citizens, and we pledge ourselves to continue this policy until every acre of land so unlawfully held shall be reclaimed and restored to the people.
- We denounce the Republican legislation known as the Sherman Act of 1890 as a cowardly makeshift, fraught with possibilities of danger in the future, which should make all of its supporters, as well as its author, anxious for its speedy repeal. We hold to the use of both gold and silver as the standard money of the country, and to the coinage of both gold and silver without discriminating against either metal or charge for mintage, but the dollar unit of coinage of both metals must be of equal intrinsic and exchangeable value, or be adjusted through international agreement or by such safeguards of legislation as shall insure the maintenance of the parity of the two metals and the equal power of every dollar at all times in the markets and in the payment of debts; and we demand that all paper currency shall be kept at par with and redeemable in such coin. We insist upon this policy as especially necessary for the protection of the farmers and laboring classes, the first and most defenseless victims of unstable money and fluctuating currency.
- We recommend that the prohibitory 10 per cent tax on State bank issues be repealed.
- Public office is a public trust. We reaffirm the declaration of the Democratic National Convention of 1876 for the reform of the civil service, and we call for the honest enforcement of all laws regulating the same. The nomination of a President, as in the recent Republican Convention, by delegations composed largely of his appointees, holding office at his pleasure, is a scandalous satire upon free popular institutions and a startling illustration of the methods by which a President may gratify his ambition. We denounce a policy under which the Federal office-holders usurp control of party conventions in the States, and we pledge the Democratic party to reform these and all other abuses which threaten individual liberty and local self-government.
- The Democratic party is the only party that has ever given the country a foreign policy consistent and vigorous, compelling respect abroad and inspiring confidence at home. While avoiding entangling alliances, it has aimed to cultivate friendly relations with other nations, and especially with our neighbors on the American Continent, whose destiny is closely linked with our own, and we view with alarm the tendency to a policy of irritation and bluster which is liable at any time to confront us with the alternatives of humiliation or war. We favor the maintenance of a navy strong enough for all purposes of national defense, to properly maintain the honor and dignity of this country abroad.
- This country has always been the refuge of the oppressed from every land - exiles for conscience sake - and in the spirit of the founders our Government we condemn the oppression practised by the Russian Government upon its Lutheran and Jewish subjects, and we call upon our National Government in the interest of justice and humanity, by all just and proper means, to use its prompt and best efforts to bring about a cessation of these cruel persecutions in the dominions of the Czar and to secure to the oppressed equal rights.
- We tender our profound and earnest sympathy to those lovers of freedom who are struggling for home rule and the great cause of local self-government in Ireland.
- We heartily approve all legitimate efforts to prevent the United States from being used as the dumping ground for the known criminals and professional paupers of Europe; and we demand the rigid enforcement of the laws against Chinese immigration and the importation of foreign workmen under contract, to degrade American labor and lessen its wages; but we condemn and denounce any and all attempts to restrict the immigration of the industrious and worthy of foreign lands.
- This Convention hereby renews the expression of appreciation of the patriotism of the soldiers and sailors of the Union in the war for its preservation, and we favor just and liberal pensions for all disabled Union soldiers, their widows and dependents, but we demand that the work of the Pension Office shall be done industriously, impartially and honestly. We denounce the present administration of that office as incompetent, corrupt, disgraceful and dishonest.
- The Federal Government should care for and improve the Mississippi River and other great waterways of the Republic, so as to secure for the interior States easy and cheap transportation to tide water. When any waterway of the Republic is sufficient importance to demand the aid of the Government, such aid should be extended upon a definite plan of continuous work, until permanent improvement is secured.
- For the purposes of national defense and the promotion of commerce between the States, we recognize the early construction of the Nicaragua Canal and its protection against foreign control as of great importance to the United States.
- Recognizing the World's Columbian Exposition as a national undertaking of vast importance, in which the General Government has invited the cooperation of all the powers of the world, and appreciating the acceptance by many of such powers of the invitation so extended, and the broad and liberal efforts being made by them to contribute to the grandeur of the undertaking, we are of opinion that Congress should make such necessary financial provision as shall be requisite to the maintenance of the national honor and public faith.
- Popular education being the only safe basis of popular suffrage, we recommend to the several States most liberal appropriations for the public schools. Free common schools are the nursery of good government, and they have always received the fostering care of the Democratic party, which favors every means of increasing intelligence. Freedom of education, being an essential of civil and religious liberty, as well as a necessity for the development of intelligence, must not be interfered with under any pretext whatever. We are opposed to State interference with parental rights and rights of conscience in the education of children as an infringement of the fundamental Democratic doctrine that the largest individual liberty consistent with the rights of others insures the highest type of American citizenship and the best government.
- We approve the action of the present House of Representatives in passing bills for admitting into the Union as States of the Territories of New Mexico and Arizona, and we favor the early admission of all the Territories having the necessary population and resources to entitle them to Statehood, and while they remain Territories we hold that the officials appointed to administer the government of any Territory, together with the Districts of Columbia and Alaska, should be bona-fide residents of the Territory or district in which their duties are to be performed. The Democratic party believes in home rule and the control of their own affairs by the people of the vicinage.
- We favor legislation by Congress and State Legislatures to protect the lives and limbs of railway employees and those of other hazardous transportation companies, and denounce the inactivity of the Republican party, and particularly the Republican Senate, for causing the defeat of measures beneficial and protective to this class of wage workers.
- We are in favor of the enactment by the States of laws for abolishing the notorious sweating system, for abolishing contract convict labor, and for prohibiting the employment in factories of children under 15 years of age.
- We are opposed to all sumptuary laws, as an interference with the individual rights of the citizen.
- Upon this statement of principles and policies, the Democratic party asks the intelligent judgement of the American people. It asks a change of administration and a change of party, in order that there may be a change of system and a change of methods, thus assuring the maintenance unimpaired of institutions under which the Republic has grown great and powerful.
People's Party nomination
- James B. Weaver, former U.S. representative from Iowa
- James H. Kyle, U.S. senator from South Dakota
- Leonidas L. Polk, former representative from North Carolina
- Walter Q. Gresham, Appellate judge from Indiana
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.
Leonidas L. Polk was the initial frontrunner for the presidential nomination, having been instrumental in the party's formation and holding great appeal to its agrarian base, but he unexpectedly died while in Washington D.C. on June 11. Another oft mentioned candidate for the nomination was Walter Q. Gresham, an appellate judge who had made a number of rulings against the railroads that made him a favorite of some farmer and labor groups, and it was felt that his rather dignified image would make the Populists appear as more than a minor contender. Both Democrats and Republicans feared his nomination for this reason, and while Gresham toyed with the idea, he ultimately was not ready to make a complete break with the two parties, declining petitions for his nomination right up to and during the Populist Convention. Later he would endorse Grover Cleveland for the Presidency.
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, now lacking any serious opposition to his nomination. While his nomination brought with him significant campaigning experience from over several decades, he also had a longer tract of history for which Republicans and Democrats could criticize him, and also alienated many potential supporters in the South, having participated in Sherman's March to the Sea. James G. Field of Virginia was nominated for vice-president to try and rectify this problem while also attaining the regional balance often seen in Republican and Democratic tickets. 
|Presidential Ballot||Vice Presidential Ballot|
|James B. Weaver||995||James G. Field||733|
|James H. Kyle||265||Ben Stockton Terrell||554|
|Seymour F. Norton||1|
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.
People's Party Platform
||This section contains too many or too-lengthy quotations for an encyclopedic entry. (November 2013)|
Assembled upon the 116th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the People's Party of America in their first national convention, invoking upon their action the blessing of Almighty God, put forth in the name and on the behalf of the people of this country, the following preamble and declaration of principles:
- The conditions which surround us best justify our co-operation; we meet in the midst of a nation brought to the verge of moral, political, and material ruin. Corruption dominates the ballot-box, the Legislatures, the Congress, and touches even the ermine of the bench. The people are demoralized; most of the States have been compelled to isolate the voters at the polling places to prevent universal intimidation and bribery. The newspapers are largely subsidized or muzzled, public opinion silenced, business prostrated, homes covered with mortgages, labor impoverished, and the land concentrating in the hands of capitalists. The urban workmen are denied the right to organize for self-protection; imported pauperized labor beats down their wages, a hireling standing army, unrecognized by our laws, is established to shoot them down, and they are rapidly degenerating into European conditions. The fruits of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for a few, unprecedented in the history of mankind; and the possessors of these, in turn despise the Republic and endanger liberty. From the same prolific womb of governmental injustice we breed the two great classes - tramps and millionaires.
- The national power to create money is appropriated to enrich bond-holders; a vast public debt payable in legal tender currency has been funded into gold-bearing bonds, thereby adding millions to the burdens of the people.
- Silver, which has been accepted as coin since the dawn of history, has been demonetized to add to the purchasing power of gold by decreasing the value of all forms of property as well as human labor, and the supply of currency is purposely abridged to fatten usurers, bankrupt enterprise, and enslave industry. A vast conspiracy against mankind has been organized on two continents, and it is rapidly taking possession of the world. If not met and overthrown at once, it forebodes terrible social convulsions, the destruction of civilization, or the establishment of an absolute despotism.
- We have witnessed for more than a quarter of a century the struggles of the two great political parties for power and plunder, while grievous wrongs have been inflicted upon the suffering people. We charge that the controlling influence dominating both these parties have permitted the existing dreadful conditions to develop without serious effort to prevent or restrain them. Neither do they now promise us any substantial reform. They have agreed together to ignore, in the coming campaign, every issue but one. They propose to drown the outcries of a plundered people with the uproar of a sham battle over the tariff, so that capitalists, corporations, national banks, rings, trusts, watered stock, the demonetization of silver and the oppressions of usurers may all be lost sight of. They propose to sacrifice our homes, lives, and children on the altar of mammon; to destroy the multitude in order to secure corruption funds from the millionaires.
- Assembled on the anniversary of the birthday of the nation, and filled with the spirit of the grand general and chief who established our independence, we seek to restore the government of the Republic to the hands of "the plain people," with which class it originated. We assert our purposes to be identical with the purposes of the National Constitution, to form a more perfect union and establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.
- We declare that this Republic can only endure as a free government while built upon the love of the whole people for each other and for the nation; that it cannot be pinned together by bayonets; that the civil war is over and that every passion and resentment which grew out of it must die with it, and that we must be in fact, as we are in name, one united brotherhood of freemen.
- Our country finds itself confronted by conditions for which there is no precedent in the history of the world; our annual agricultural productions amount to billions of dollars in value, which must, within a few weeks or months be exchanged for billions of dollars' worth of commodities consumed in their production; the existing currency supply is wholly inadequate to make this exchange; the results are falling prices, the formation of combines and rings, the impoverishment of the producing class. We pledge ourselves that, if given power, we will labor to correct these evils by wise and reasonable legislation, in accordance with the terms of our platform.
- We believe that the power of government - in other words, of the people - should be expanded (as in the case of the postal service) as rapidly and as far as good sense of an intelligent people and the teachings of experience shall justify, to the end that oppression, injustice and poverty, shall eventually cease in the land.
- While our sympathies as a party of reform are naturally upon the side of every proposition which will tend o make men intelligent, virtuous and temperate, we nevertheless regard these questions, important as they are, as secondary to the great issues now pressing for solution, and upon which not only our individual prosperity but the very existence of free institutions depend; and we ask all men to first help us to determine whether we are to have a republic to administer, believing that the forces of reform this day organized will never cease to move forward, until every wrong is remedied, and equal rights and equal privileges securely established for all the men and women of this country.
- We declare, therefore,
- First - That the union of the labor forces of the United States this day consummated shall be permanent and perpetual; may its spirit enter into all hearts for the salvation of the Republic and the uplifting of mankind.
- Second - Wealth belongs to him who creates it, and every dollar taken from industry without an equivalent is robbery. "If any will not work, neither shall he eat." The interests of rural and civic labor are the same; their enemies are identical.
- Third - We believe that the time has come when the railroad corporations will either own the people or the people must own the railroads, and should the government enter upon the work of owning and managing all railroads, we should favor an amendment to the Constitution by which all persons engaged in the government service shall be placed under a civil service regulation of the most rigid character, so as to prevent the increase of the power of the national administration by the use of such additional government employees.
- Finance - We demand a national currency, safe, sound, and flexible, issued by the general government only, a full legal tender for all debts, public and private, and that without the use of banking corporations, a just, equitable, and efficient means of distribution direct to the people, at a tax not to exceed 2 per cent per annum, to be provided as set forth by the sub-treasury plan of the Farmers' Alliance, or a better system; also by payments in discharge of its obligations for public improvements.
- 1. We demand free and unlimited coinage of silver and gold at the present legal ration of 16 to 1.
- 2. We demand that the amount of circulating medium be speedily increased to not less than $50 per capita.
- 3. We demand a graduated income tax.
- 4. We believe that the money of the country should be kept as much as possible in the hands of the people, and hence we demand that all State and national revenues shall be limited to the neccessary expenses of the government, economically and honestly administered.
- 5. We demand that postal savings banks be established by the government for the safe deposit of the earnings of the people and to facilitate exchange.
- Transportation - Transportation being a means of exchange and a public necessity, the government should own and operate the railroads in the interest of the people. The telegraph and telephone, like the post office system, being a necessity for the transmission of news, should be owned and operated by the government in the interest of the people.
- Land - The land, including all the natural sources of wealth, is the heritage of the people, and should not be monopolized for speculative purposes, and alien ownership of land should be prohibited. All land now held by the railroads and other corporations in excess of their actual needs, and all lands now owned bu aliens, should be reclaimed by the government and held for actual settlers only.
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
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|
Prohibition Party Platform
||This section contains too many or too-lengthy quotations for an encyclopedic entry. (November 2013)|
- The Prohibition Party, in National Convention assembled, acknowledging Almighty God as the source of all true government, and His law as the standard to which human enactments must conform to secure the blessings of peace and prosperity, presents the following declaration of principles:
- Our traffic is a foe to civilization, the arch enemy of popular government, and a public nuisance. It is the citadel of the forces that corrupt politics, promote poverty and crime, degrade the nation's home life, thwart the will of the people, and deliver our counry into the hands of rapacious class interests. All laws that under the guise of regulation legalize and protect this traffic or make the Government share its ill-gotten gains, are 'vicious in principle and powerless as a remedy.' We declare anew for the entire suppression of the manufacture, sale, importation, exportation and transportation of alcoholic liquors as a beverage by Federal and State legislation, and the full powers of Government should be exerted to secure this result. Any party that fails to recognize the dominant nature of this issue in American politics is undeserving of the support of the people.
- No citizen should be denied the right to vote on account of sex, and equal labor should receive equal wages, without regard to sex.
- The money of the country should consist of gold, silver, and paper, and be issued by the General Government only, and in sufficient quantity to meet the demands of business and give full opportunity for the employment of labor. To this end an increase in the volume of money is demanded, and no individual or corporation should be allowed to make any profit through its issue. It should be made a legal tender for the payument of all debts, public and private. Its volume should be fixed at a definite sum per capita and made to increase with our increase in population.
- Tariff should be levied only as a defense against foreign governments which levy tariff upon or bar out our products from their markets, revenue being incidental. The residue of means necessary to an economical administration of the Government should be raised by levying a burden on what the people possess, instead of upon what they consume.
- Railroad, telegraph, and other public corporations should be controlled by the Government in the interest of the people, and no higher charges allowed than necessary to give fair interest on the capital actually invested.
- Foreign immigration has become a burden upon industry, one of the factors in depressing wages and causing discontent; therefore our immigration laws should be revised and strictly enforced. The time of residence for naturalization should be extended, and no naturalized person should be allowed to vote until one year after he becomes a citizen.
- Non-resident aliens should not be alloweed to acquire land in this country, and we favor the limitation of individual and corporate ownership of land. All unearned grants of land to railroad companies or other corporations should be reclaimed.
- Years of inaction and treachery on the part of the Republican and Democratic parties have resulted in the present reign of mob law, and we demand that every citizen be protected in the right of trial by constitutional tribunals.
- All men should be protected by law in their right to one day's rest in seven.
- Arbitration is the wisest and most economical and humane method of settling national differences.
- Speculations in margins, the cornering of grain, money and products, and the formation of pools, trusts, and combinations for the arbitrary advancement of prices should be suppressed.
- We pledge that the Prohibition Party, if elected to power, will ever grant just pensions to disabled veterans of the Union army and navy, their widows and orphans.
- We stand unequivocally for the Amerian Public School, and opposed to any appropriation of any public moneys for sectarian schools. We declare that only by united support of such common schools, taught in the English language, can we hope to become and remain a homogeneous and harmonious people.
- We arraign the Republican and Democratic Parties as false to the standards reared by their founders; as faithless to the principles of the illustrious leaders of the past to whom they do homage with the lips; as recreant to the higher law,'which is as inflexible in political affairs as in personal life; and as no longer embodying the aspirations of the American people, or inviting the confidence of enlightened, progressive patriotism. Their protest against the admission of 'moral issues' into politics is a confession of theirt own moral degeneracy. The declaration of an eminent authority that municipal misrule is 'the one conspicuous failure of American politics' follows as a natural consequence of such degeneracy, and it is true alike of cities under Republican and Democratic control. Each accuses the other of extravagance in congressional appropriations, and both are alike guilty; each protests when out of power against the infraction of the civil-service laws, and each when in power violates those laws in letter and spirit; each professes fealty to the interests of the toiling masses, but both covertly truckle to the money power in their administration of public affairs. Even the tariff issue, as represented in the Democratic Mills bill and the Republican McKinley bill, is no longer treated by them as an issue upon great and divergent priniples of government, but is a mere catering to different sectional and class interests. The attempt in many States to wrest the Australian ballot system from its true purpose, and to so deform it as to render it extremely difficult fgor new parties to exercise the right of suffrage, is an outrage upon popular government. The competition of both the parties for the vote of the slums, and their assiduous courting of the liquor power and subvserviency to the money power, has resulted in placing those powers in the position of practical arbiters of the detinies of the nation. We renew our protest against these perilous tendencies, and invite all citizens to join us in the upbuilding of a party that has shown in five national campaigns that it prefers temporary defeat to an abandonment of the claims of justice, sobriety, personal rights and the protection of American homes.
- Recognizing and declaring that prohibition of the liquor traffic has become the dominant issue in national politics, we invite to full party fellowship all those who on this one dominant issue are with us agreed, in the full belief that this party can and will remove sectional differences, promote national unity, and insure the best welfare of our entire land.
- Resolved, That we favor a liberal appropriation by the Federal Government for the World's Columbian Exposition, but only on the condition that the sale of intoxicating drinks upon the Exposition grounds is prohibited, and that the Exposition be kept closed on Sunday.
Socialist Labor Party Nomination
The first Socialist Labor Party National Convention assembled in New York City and, despite running on a platform that called for the abolition of the positions of President and Vice President, decided to nominate candidates for those positions; Simon Wing of Massachusetts for president and Charles Matchett of New York for vice-president. They were on the ballot in five states; Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
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. Cleveland also denounced the Force Bill, a voting rights bill. 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.
Electors from the state of Michigan were selected using the congressional district method (the winner in each congressional district wins one electoral vote, the winner of the state wins two electoral votes). This resulted in a split between the Republican and Democratic electors: nine for Harrison and five for Cleveland.
In Oregon, the direct election of Presidential Electors combined with the fact that one Weaver elector was endorsed by the Democratic Party and elected as a Fusionist, resulted in a split between the Republican and Populist electors: three for Harrison and one for Weaver.
In California, the direct election of Presidential Electors combined with the close race resulted in a split between the Republican and Democratic electors: eight for Cleveland and one for Harrison.
In Ohio, the direct election of Presidential Electors combined with the close race resulted in a split between the Republican and Democratic of electors: 22 for Harrison and one for Cleveland.
In North Dakota, two electors from the Democratic-Populist Fusion ticket won and one Republican Elector won. This created a split delegation of electors: one for Weaver, one for Harrison, and one for Cleveland.
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|
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
Cartogram of presidential election results by county.
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- 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