1 penny

Union Today

Wednesday, November 9, 1892                                                                   Union County

Cleveland Back for Seconds

Grover Cleveland has came back for one more term as the United States President. Winning his first election in 1884 and then losing the popular vote because the North and the west votes mostly republican. This causes him to lose in the electoral votes and ending his chance of reelection... or so we thought. Cleveland runs again and voting patterns change across the country. States that previously voted republican like New York and Illinois which have a lot of electoral vote changed their votes from republican to Democrat. This causes Cleveland to be the first President to run two non-consecutive terms something we saw we would never see. Cleveland wins 277 of the electoral votes to Harrison's 145 votes giving him the win by 132 electoral votes. Compared to 1888 when Cleveland lost by 65 votes in the 1888 election.

United States Elections: Presidential Elections (1892)

Former-President Cleveland again won the Democratic nomination. He was the first Democrat to be nominated three consecutive times. (Future Democratic candidates William Jennings Bryan and Franklin D. Roosevelt would subsequently dominate Democratic Party conventions, but Only Cleveland and Roosevelt would win elections.) President Harrison easily won renomination, but he had opposition from perennial candidate Blaine and future nominee McKinley. This was one of only two campaigns in which two presidents competed. (The other was the 1912 election involving Taft and Roosevelt.) Several other parties contested the election. The Prohibition Party nominated John Bidwell. The Populist Party nominated James Weaver. The Socialist Labor Party nominated Simon Wing. The tariff issue again dominated the campaign with the Republicans again taking a protectionist stance and the Democrats supporting aore free market approach. A new issue arose, primarily because of the Populists. They attacked the gold standard and demanded increased coinage of silver to increase inflation. This had great appeal among Southern and Western farmers who owed money. Cleveland support of "hard" money (the gold standard) gained support from Eastern bankers and business. Labor politics began to influence elections. The use of Federal troops to suppress striking steel workers at Carnegie Steel damaged support for the Republicans among workers. The Populists won several Western states, but the South held for Cleveland and the Democrats. Cleveland also won the industrial Northeast. Cleveland easily won reelection and the Democrats gained control of both houses of Congress. Cleveland was the only president to be elected to non-consecutive presidential terms.

Democratic Convention

Former-President Cleveland again won the Democratic nomination. He was the first Democrat to be nominated three consecutive times. (Future Democratic candidates William Jennings Bryan and Franklin D. Roosevelt would subsequently dominate Democratic Party conventions, but Only Cleveland and Roosevelt would win elections.) There was considerable dissension within the Democratic Party. The southern and western wing of the Party demanded a silver programs, but it was not adopted for inclusion on the platform. The Party did approve the enactment of a tariff for revenue only, not one to protect American industry which at this stage of America's industrial development was no longer needed. The Democratic tariff plan was a response to the McKinley Tariff.

Republican Convention

President Harrison easily won renomination, but he had opposition from perennial candidate Blaine and future nominee McKinley. Harrison was not, however, a popular choice within the Party. The President's support for civil service reform was unpopular among Republican office seekers. His support of the McKinley Tariff proved unpopular with the public. Harrison's own cabinet found him icy and difficult to work with. Even with these problems, Harrison secured renomination on the first ballot.

Third Parties

Several other parties contested the ekection. The Prohibition Party nominated John Bidwell. The Populist Party nominated General James B. Weaver. The Poplists were one of the more important third parties in American history. The Populists advocated the free and unlimited coinage of silver and government ownership of the railroads. Both of those positions were crafted to appeal to the miners and farmers.The Socialist Labor Party nominated Simon Wing. The 1892 campaign shaped up to be a repeat of the 1888 campaign beteween Cleveland and Harrison with the endless debate on tariffs and "waving the bloody shirt". Weaver helped add a little interest in the election and in the process began a major shift in presidential campaigning. James B. Weaver was an Iowa Civil War veteran enthusiastically nominated at the Populist People's Party Convention in Omaha (July 5). The Party was dominated by radical farmers. Weaver had served in Congress and had formerly been both a Democrat and Republican. He was noted for abolitionist activities in Iowa before the Civil War. He had been the presidential candidate of the Greenback Party. He told the convention that he would take his campaign into every state of the Union. He did not meet this goal, but gave it a good try. This does not seem to astounding to modern readers. It did to Americans in 1888. At the time, presidential candidates were expected to pretend they were not to interested in being president. Rather they would expected to sit on their front porch and chat with a few congenial reporters, write letters, meet with advisers,and perhaps deliver a few speeches. It was up to their supporters to conduct the campaign. The principle was that "the presidency should seek the man". Weaver broke that mold. In the West the Populist support for expanding silver coinage generated support among miners. Heappeared with firey speaker May E. Lease. His wife accompanied which was also a break from convention. He had less success in the South where the Populist's were seen as a threat to the white-controlled Democratic Party. After his wife was hit with a rotten egg in Macon, Georgia, he cut his southern campaign short. Weaver ran the most successful third party campaign since the emergence of the Republican Party. Congressman William Jennings Bryan took up Weaver's approach with a Whistle-stop campaign (1896). And the Republicans eventually followed suit when Theodore Roosevelt, one of the most aggressive campaigns in American history, ran his first presidential campaign (1904).

Campaign

The 1892 campaign was one of only two presidential election campaigns in which two presidents competed. (The other was the 1912 election involving Taft and Roosevelt.) The tariff issue again dominated the campaign with the Republicans again taking a protectionist stance and the Democrats supporting our free market approach. A new issue arose, primarily because of the Populists. They attacked the gold standard and demanded increased coinage of silver to increase inflation. This had great appeal among Southern and Western farmers who owed money. Cleveland's support of "hard" money (the gold standard) gained support from Eastern bankers and business. Labor politics began to influence elections. The use of Federal troops to suppress striking steel workers at Carnegie Steel damaged support for the Republicans among workers. The campaign itself was subdued, it sharp contrast to the 1884 election. Cleveland decided not to campaign vigorously. This was because Mrs. Harrison's was seriously ill and the her husband spent a great deal of time with her. Cleveland thought that extensive campaigning would be taking an unfair advantage. He this sharply limited his personal appearances. Mrs. Harrison passed away 2 weeks before the election.

Results Harrison carried the northern tier of the the West and midWest as well as some industrial states and New England. This was a rare American election that Ohio did not go with the winning candidate. The South held for Cleveland and the Democrats. Cleveland also won much of the the industrial Northeast as well as California and some of the mid-West. This enabled him to easily gain reelection. While the popular vote was close (5.6 million to 5.2 Million. Cleveland overwhelmed Harrison in the electoral vote (277 to 145). Cleveland thus became the only president to be elected to non-consecutive presidential terms. Weaver and the Populists carried four states (Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, and Nevada as well as electoral votes in North Dakota and Oregon). This was the first time since the Civil War that a third party garnered electoral votes and showed some dissatisfaction with the main parties.

Today's Opinion

Election of 1892

Determined to curtail the growing number of corporate monopolies that threatened their livelihood, discontented agrarians joined together to propel the Populist Party to national prominence. Members of the Farmers’ Alliance, the Grange, and the Greenback Party elected their own Populist representatives to cut through the political rhetoric and remedy farmers’ problems. On July 4, 1892, Populists gathered in Omaha, Nebraska, to nominate former Greenbacker James B. Weaver for president.

The group also established a party platform, called the Omaha Platform, to “end the injustice, oppression, and poverty” that members believed were perpetuated by the policies of the old political parties. The platform formally outlined Populist plans for government ownership of the railroads and the telephone and telegraph systems, the subtreasury system, free silver coinage, a graduated income tax, and a national currency backed by the government rather than private banks. The Omaha Platform also called for reforms in the election process, such as the use of secret ballots, to make elections more democratic and fair.

In the presidential election of 1892, Populist candidate Weaver collected more than one million votes. Although most party members felt satisfied with the respectable showing, others were disappointed with the results. Many Populists accused Republican and Democrats, primarily in southern states, of using violence to intimidate voters. It is more likely, however, that Weaver’s loss to Democrat Grover Cleveland in the south was due to the lack of support for a Populist biracial reform position among white Southern Democrats. Also, many unfamiliar with the ideals of the Alliance and the Populist platform, remained loyal to their traditional political parties. Undaunted by the loss, Populist Party leaders worked to expand their support throughout the growing nation.

The anger toward big business and tyrannical owners spread beyond the farmer, the core group of the Populist Party, to workers in every industry. Work strikes became popular responses to combat labor disputes. In the summer of 1892, a lockout of unionists at Andrew Carnegie’s Homestead steel plant turned violent when plant manager Henry Clay Frick hired 300 Pinkerton detectives to protect nonunion replacement workers and guard the plant. The Pinkertons’ reputation as strike-busters added tension to the volatile situation. The clash between the striking employees and guards left ten people dead and more than 60 wounded. The governor of Pennsylvania eventually called on the state militia to keep the plant open and protect nonunion workers. The violent incident ended the strike and also broke the union.

Two years after the Homestead strike, workers staged another prominent uprising when they challenged wage cuts at George Pullman’s Palace Sleeping Car Company. Pullman enacted a payroll reduction but refused to lower rent in the company-owned town of Pullman, where most company employees lived. The workers, with support from American Railway Union leader Eugene V. Debs, ordered a boycott of any train with Pullman cars. The strike forced trains to sit idle and backed up miles of track both in and out of Chicago. Using the excuse that the mail cars were unable to move, railroad owners sought help from President Cleveland, who dispatched federal troops to the area. When Debs refused to honor a court injunction against the strike, authorities arrested him and broke the strike.

During the early 1890s, poor market conditions for farmers and ongoing labor unrest plunged the nation into severe depression. Railroad overexpansion, an inadequate banking system, limited credit, and reduced American exports to Europe fed the Panic of 1893. By the end of the year hundreds of banks closed, thousands of businesses declared bankruptcy, and more than 20 percent of the workforce became jobless. With no government programs to assist the unemployed, many families lost their homes, and men, women, and children scavenged for food.

In 1894, businessman Jacob Coxey organized a march on Washington to persuade the federal government to provide jobs to the jobless. The Populist from Ohio proposed using paper money to finance a public works program to improve the nation’s infrastructure. Coxey claimed the plan would put men back to work, enhance the nation’s roadways, and stimulate the economy. President Cleveland, however, did not believe the government should protect the weak or unfortunate. The functions of the government, he said, do not include the support of the people.

The press dubbed the marchers Coxey’s Army and followed the group’s journey to the steps of the Capitol. Government leaders, though, had no intention of letting Coxey plead his case. Police arrested him for trespassing and refused to let him present his plan to Congress. The cold hearted treatment of Coxey and his cause proved to Americans that the Cleveland administration had little sympathy for unfortunate citizens.

The election of 1892 is a revival of the 1888 election, where it’s main players, Democrat candidate, Grover Cleveland, and Republican candidate, Benjamin Harrison, will face off, and take the most coveted prize of all, the presidency. In 1888, the incumbent candidate, Cleveland, was defeated and forced to step out of office. After deciding to retire from politics and the occasional snubs by the Harrison administration, Cleveland decided to come out of retirement and secure the nomination of the Democratic party. His decision was for the better of the country, and he definitely made the correct choice. The country seems to agree also, because Cleveland won the election, and is the first president to be elected president to not serve a consecutive term.

Like any worthy election, there were issues that the parties focused on. In this election, the main issue was the McKinley tariff. The McKinley tariff, was a bill passed in 1890 and structured by the Ohio republican senator, William McKinley, and backed up by Harrison. The bill was just one slice off Harrison’s Unsuccessful Re-election cake.The bill placed a tariff on manufactured goods, mostly sugar, at a high rate of nearly 49 percent. With the bill, the Republicans lost the support of farmers, since they were the ones affected the most by it. The farmers went on to support the newly formed Populist Party, and the party, with their nominee, James Weaver, ended up securing the electoral votes of four states, Nevada, Idaho, Colorado, and Kansas. Cleveland saw the damage the tariff was doing to the American people, and reassured the people he did not support the tariff. He sought out to remove the bill. That’s just reason number one.

The Harrison administration was dubbed by the Democrats as the “Billion Dollar Congress.” Harrison’s administration was known for passing expensive bills which caused their budget to surpass one billion dollars, making them the first Congress to do so. Any Republican displeased with either the lavish spending or the unjust McKinley tariff voted for Cleveland. It was a clear victory.

If any of those reasons weren’t enough reason to show why Harrison lost, several weeks before the election, First Lady Caroline Harrison, fell ill. After hearing about her illness, Harrison ended all of his campaigns. Cleveland, not wanting to look like villain, decided not to campaign either, out of respect.

The election of 1892 was close, Cleveland securing approximately 300,000 more popular votes than Harrison. But was it really? Cleveland took over ½ of the electoral votes, giving him a clear victory. There must be a reason why during the past 16 years of Republican rule, a Democrat president was elected. In 1888, Harrison’s campaign slogan was “Rejuvenated Republicanism.” Meanwhile, it’s 1892, and a Democrat was nominated, marking the new era of Democratic rule.