1884 Republican National Convention

The 1884 Republican National Convention was a presidential nominating convention held at the Exposition Hall in Chicago, Illinois, on June 3–6, 1884.[1] It resulted in the nomination of former House Speaker James G. Blaine from Maine for President and Senator John A. Logan of Illinois for Vice President. The ticket lost in the election of 1884 to Democrats Grover Cleveland and Thomas A. Hendricks.

In attendance were 1600 delegates and alternates and 6000 spectators.[1] There were 820 official delegates; 411 votes were needed to win the nomination.[2] The incumbent President, Chester Arthur, was not a serious contender due to ill health. Blaine was the favorite going in, but there was a possibility that President Arthur could build a coalition with smaller candidates such as George F. Edmunds.[1] There were also rumors that members of the Party would bolt if Blaine won the nomination.[3] Neither Blaine nor Arthur were in attendance. Blaine was at his home in Augusta, Maine, and Arthur followed the events from the White House by telegraphy.[4]

To test the waters Blaine supporters nominated Powell Clayton as temporary chair of the Convention. A former Arthur supporter, Clayton was now in Blaine's camp. He was popular with veterans, but was also associated with the Star Route Frauds. Edmunds supporters, led by Henry C. Lodge moved to nominate John R. Lynch instead, an African-American from Mississippi. The speech supporting Lynch was given by Theodore Roosevelt. Lynch won the vote 424 to 384, and Blaine's nomination seemed for the first time vulnerable.[1]

Blaine's future seemed more vulnerable the next day when, to address the rumors of Party members bolting, his supporters made a motion to remove seats of delegates who failed to pledge support of the eventual nominee. The motion failed, again by the fortitude of Edmunds's supporters.[3] The day closed with John B. Henderson being elected permanent chair of the Convention.[3]

That evening leaders of Arthur's and Edmunds's camps met in private in the Grand Pacific Hotel and tried to create a viable coalition. Arthur's team could not guarantee that his supporters would back Edmunds. It was more likely that the second choice of Arthur delegates was Blaine.[3]

The roll call of the States began the next evening. When Maine, Blaine's state, was called, the cheering lasted ten minutes, during which time William H. West came to the platform and gave a rabble-rousing speech to second the nomination. After West's speech, pandemonium continued in the building, much to West's chagrin.[5] Further speeches seconding the nomination were given by Cushman Kellogg Davis and Thomas C. Platt.[6]

When the roll call reached New York, it was Arthur's turn to be nominated. Martin I. Townsend's speech was lackluster at best and poorly prepared, Townsend having been selected for the responsibility only after the roll call began. His speech was occasionally drowned out by hisses and eruptions of side conversations.[6] The nomination was seconded by Harry H. Bingham, John R. Lynch and Patrick H. Winston. Bingham's speech was strong, Lynch's brief, and Winston's irritating. Although it was already 11 PM, a motion to adjourn failed. Another speech for Arthur was given by P. B. S. Pinchback, but like the others, it did not sway any support.[7] To close the night Joseph B. Foraker nominated John Sherman and John Davis Long nominated Edmunds. The delegates adjourned just after midnight.[2]

The next morning, June 6, the balloting began. On the first ballot Blaine received 344½, Arthur 278, Edmunds 93, Logan 63½, Sherman 30, with Joseph Roswell Hawley, Robert Todd Lincoln and William Tecumseh Sherman receiving parts of the remainder. Arthur received only a third of his votes from the North, none from Ohio, 1 of 44 from Illinois, 9 of 30 from Indiana, 11 of 60 from Pennsylvania and only 31 of 71 from his home state of New York. It was expected that Logan's delegates would shift to Blaine. On the second ballot, Blaine received 375 (gaining delegates from Edmunds), Arthur 274. On the fourth ballot, Blaine received 541, Arthur 207 and Edmunds 41. Blaine received 130 more than the majority needed, grabbing 67 from Arthur's camp and 28 from Edmunds's. That evening Logan was selected to be Blaine's running mate.[3]

As of 2017, this was the last convention where an incumbent President was refused renomination.

Republican candidates:

John Alexander Logan crop
John A. Logan
of Illinois
(Withdrew During 4th Ballot)
Robert Todd Lincoln, Brady-Handy bw photo portrait, ca1870-1880-Edit1
Robert Todd Lincoln
of New York
(Declined to Contest)
Presidential Ballot Vice Presidential Ballot
Ballot 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Ballot 1st
James G. Blaine 334.5 341 375 541 John A. Logan 780
President Arthur 278 270 274 207 Walter Q. Gresham 6
George F. Edmunds 93 85 69 41 Joseph B. Foraker 1
John A. Logan 63.5 61 58 7
John Sherman 30 28 25 0
Joseph R. Hawley 13 13 13 15
Robert T. Lincoln 4 4 8 2
William T. Sherman 2 3 2 0
Not Voting 2 1 1 7
1884 Republican National Convention
1884 presidential election
Blaine and Logan
Date(s)June 3–6, 1884
CityChicago, Illinois
VenueExposition Hall
ChairJohn B. Henderson
Keynote speakerJohn R. Lynch
Presidential nomineeJames G. Blaine of Maine
Vice Presidential nomineeJohn A. Logan of Illinois
Other candidatesChester A. Arthur
George F. Edmunds
Total delegates832
Votes needed for nomination417
Results (President)Blaine (ME): 541 (65.98%)
Arthur (NY): 207 (25.24%)
Edmunds (VT): 41 (5%)
Logan (IL): 7 (0.85%)
Others: 24 (2.93%)
Results (Vice President)Logan (IL): 779 (95%)
Abstaining: 34 (4.15%)
Gresham (IN): 6 (0.73%)
Foraker (OH): 1 (0.12%)

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Reeves 1975, p. 375.
  2. ^ a b Reeves 1975, p. 380.
  3. ^ a b c d e Reeves 1975, p. 376.
  4. ^ Reeves 1975, p. 381.
  5. ^ Reeves 1975, p. 377.
  6. ^ a b Reeves 1975, p. 378.
  7. ^ Reeves 1975, p. 379.


  • Reeves, Thomas C. (1975). Gentleman Boss. New York City: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0-394-46095-2.

External links

Preceded by
Republican National Conventions Succeeded by
1884 Democratic National Convention

In 1884, the Democrats gathered in Chicago for their National Convention. The Democrats made Governor Grover Cleveland of New York their presidential nominee with the former Governor Thomas A. Hendricks of Indiana as the vice presidential nominee.

1884 United States elections

The 1884 United States elections was held on November 4, electing the members of the 49th United States Congress. The election took place during the Third Party System.

In the Presidential election, Democratic Governor Grover Cleveland of New York defeated Republican former Secretary of State James G. Blaine. Though Cleveland won the popular vote by less than 1%, he won by a fairly comfortable margin in the electoral college. Cleveland won the South and the critical state of New York, while Blaine took most of the rest of the country. This was the most recent example of an incumbent President being denied nomination by his party for another term, as Blaine defeated President Chester A. Arthur at the 1884 Republican National Convention. Cleveland took the Democratic nomination on the second ballot of the 1884 Democratic National Convention, defeating Delaware Senator Thomas F. Bayard and several other candidates. Cleveland's win made him the first Democratic President to win election since the 1856 election.

Republicans picked up several seats in the House, but Democrats continued to command a majority in the chamber. In the Senate, Republicans made moderate gains and established a clear majority.

1884 United States presidential election

The United States presidential election of 1884 was the 25th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 4, 1884. It saw the first election of a Democrat as President of the United States since the Civil War. Governor Grover Cleveland of New York defeated Republican James G. Blaine of Maine.

Cleveland won the presidential nomination on the second ballot of the 1884 Democratic National Convention. President Chester A. Arthur had acceded to the presidency in 1881 following the assassination of James A. Garfield, but he was unsuccessful in his bid for nomination to a full term. Blaine, who had served as Secretary of State under President Garfield, defeated Arthur and other candidates on the fourth ballot of the 1884 Republican National Convention. A group of reformist Republicans known as "Mugwumps" abandoned Blaine's candidacy, viewing him as corrupt. The campaign was marred by exceptional political acrimony and personal invective. Blaine's reputation for public corruption and his inadvertent alienation of Catholic voters proved decisive.

In the election, Cleveland won 48.9% of the nationwide popular vote and 219 electoral votes, carrying the Solid South and several key swing states. Blaine won 48.3% of the popular vote and 182 electoral votes. Cleveland won his home state by just 1,047 votes; had he lost New York, he would have lost the election. Two third-party candidates, John St. John of the Prohibition Party and Benjamin Butler of the Greenback Party and the Anti-Monopoly Party, each won less than 2% of the popular vote.

Abner Taylor

Abner Taylor (January 19, 1829 – April 13, 1903) was a U.S. Representative from Illinois.

Born in Bangor, Maine, Taylor moved with his parents to Champaign County, Ohio, in 1832, thence to Fort Dodge, Iowa, and subsequently to Chicago, Illinois, in 1860. He served the Union the American Civil War as a general's deputy, and later a colonel and United States Treasury Agent. As a business man, Taylor engaged in extensive contracting, building, and mercantile pursuits, and participated in the construction of the Texas State Capitol. In exchange for the construction of the Texas State House, Taylor was awarded three million acres of land in northwest Texas in 1882. He served as a delegate to the 1884 Republican National Convention. Further, Taylor served as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives from 1884 to 1886.

Taylor was elected as a Republican to the Fifty-first and Fifty-second Congresses (March 4, 1889 – March 3, 1893). He married Clara Babcock, a daughter of business associate Colonel A C Babcock on September 9, 1889, in Cassopolis, Michigan. Clara was nearly thirty-two years his junior. The millionaire and his lively bride were well known in Congress. Clara made international news when she announced that rather than keeping Congressmen's signatures in an autograph book, she would have them embroidered onto a petticoat in silk to keep as a record of the 52nd Congress.

Taylor did not campaign in 1892, he instead resumed the building and contracting business. He died in Washington, D.C. in 1903, and was interred in Rock Creek Cemetery.

Alphonso Barto

Alphonso Barto (May 24, 1834 – November 4, 1899) was a Minnesota legislator and the seventh Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota.

Charles T. Saxton

Charles Terry Saxton (July 2, 1846 in Clyde, Wayne County, New York – October 23, 1903 in Rochester, Monroe County, New York) was an American lawyer and politician from New York.

Edmund L. Pitts

Edmund Levi Pitts (May 23, 1839 in Yates, Orleans County, New York – July 11, 1898 in Medina, Orleans County, New York) was an American lawyer and politician.

Edwin Cowles

Edwin Cowles (1825–1890), born in Austinburg, was the publisher of The Cleveland Leader, Vice-President of the 1884 Republican National Convention, postmaster of Cleveland, April 4, 1861 - July 11, 1865, and elder brother of Alfred Cowles, Sr., also a newspaper publisher.

Henry Cabot Lodge

Henry Cabot Lodge (May 12, 1850 – November 9, 1924) was an American Republican Senator and historian from Massachusetts. A member of the prominent Lodge family, he received his PhD in history from Harvard University. He is best known for his positions on foreign policy, especially his battle with President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 over the Treaty of Versailles. The failure of that treaty ensured that the United States never joined the League of Nations.

Born in Beverly, Massachusetts, Lodge won election to the Massachusetts House of Representatives after graduating from Harvard. He and his close friend, Theodore Roosevelt, opposed James G. Blaine's nomination at the 1884 Republican National Convention, but supported Blaine in the general election against Grover Cleveland. Lodge was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1886 before joining the United States Senate in 1893.

In the Senate, he sponsored the unsuccessful Lodge Bill, which sought to protect the voting rights of African Americans. He supported the Spanish–American War and called for the annexation of the Philippines after the war. He also supported immigration restrictions, becoming a member of the Immigration Restriction League and influencing the Immigration Act of 1917. Lodge served as Chairman of the 1900 and 1908 Republican National Conventions. A member of the conservative wing of the Republican Party, Lodge opposed Roosevelt's third party bid for president in 1912, but the two remained close friends.

During the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, Lodge advocated entrance into World War I on the side of the Entente Powers. He became Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, emerging as the leader of the Senate Republicans. He led the opposition to Wilson's Treaty of Versailles, proposing twelve reservations to the treaty. He most strongly objected to the provision of the treaty that required all nations to repel aggression, fearing that this would erode Congressional powers and commit the U.S. to burdensome obligations. Lodge prevailed in the treaty battle and Lodge's objections would influence the United Nations, the successor to the League of Nations. After the war, Lodge participated in the creation of the Washington Naval Treaty, which sought to prevent a naval arms race. He remained in the Senate until his death in 1924.

John I. Gilbert

John Ingersoll Gilbert (October 11, 1837 Pittsford, Rutland County, Vermont – December 19, 1904) was an American politician from New York.

John Marshall Hamilton

Not to be confused with John M. Hamilton (1855–1916) Congressman from West VirginiaJohn Marshall Hamilton (May 28, 1847 – September 22, 1905) was the 18th Governor of Illinois, serving from 1883 to 1885. Born in Union County, Ohio, Hamilton became interested in politics at a young age, joining the Wide Awakes when he was thirteen and the Union Army four years later. After graduating from Ohio Wesleyan University he studied law and was admitted to the bar. A notable attorney in Bloomington, Illinois, Hamilton was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1876. He served there until 1881, when he was elected Lieutenant Governor of Illinois on a ticket with Shelby Moore Cullom. When Cullom resigned after election to the United States Senate, Hamilton became Governor of Illinois. He was not selected as a candidate for re-election, but did serve that year as a delegate to the 1884 Republican National Convention. He spent the rest of his life as an attorney in Chicago, where he died in 1905.

Joseph C. Eversole

Joseph Castle Eversole (July 26, 1852 – April 15, 1888), is the son of Major John C. Eversole of the 14th Kentucky Cavalry USA (1828–1864) and Nancy Ann Duff (1828–1900). Joseph was the leader of the Eversole side of the French-Eversole Feud.

Joshua Houston

Joshua Houston (1822–1902) was born into slavery in 1822 on the Perry County, Alabama plantation owned by Temple Lea and Nancy Moffette Lea, parents of Margaret Lea Houston. When Margaret married Sam Houston, Joshua moved to Texas with the newlyweds. Joshua traveled with Sam Houston and worked on the construction of Raven Hill in Huntsville, Texas. He became educated and was elected to local public offices. He had three wives and was the father of eight children, including Samuel Walker Houston. Joshua was a Texas delegate at the 1884 Republican National Convention. He helped establish the Bishop Ward Normal and Collegiate Institute.

Nathan D. Wendell

Nathan D. Wendell (1835, Fort Plain, Montgomery County, New York – January 5, 1886, Albany, Albany County, New York) was an American banker and politician.

Robert Morris Yardley

Robert Morris Yardley (October 9, 1850 – December 8, 1902) was a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania.

Robert M. Yardley was born in Yardley, Pennsylvania. He attended public and private schools in Yardley and Doylestown, Pennsylvania. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1872 and commenced practice in Doylestown. He served as district attorney of Bucks County, Pennsylvania from 1880 to 1884. He was a delegate to the 1884 Republican National Convention.

Yardley was elected as a Republican to the Fiftieth and Fifty-first Congresses. He served as chairman of the United States House Committee on Expenditures in the Department of War during the Fifty-first Congress. He declined to be a candidate for renomination in 1890.

He resumed the practice of law in Bucks County. He served as a member of the Doylestown School Board and as the director of several financial and public service corporations.

He died in Doylestown, aged 52, and is buried in Doylestown Cemetery.

Titus Sheard

Titus Sheard (October 4, 1841 in Batley, West Riding of Yorkshire, England – April 13, 1904 in Little Falls, Herkimer County, New York) was an American businessman and politician.

Walter Q. Gresham

Walter Quintin Gresham (March 17, 1832 – May 28, 1895) was an American statesman and jurist. He served as a federal judge and in the Cabinet of two presidential administrations. He affiliated with the Republican Party for most of his career but joined the Democratic Party late in life.

Gresham began a legal career in Corydon, Indiana after attending the Indiana University Bloomington. He campaigned for the Republican Party in the 1856 elections and won election to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1860. He served as a Union general during the American Civil War, taking part in the Siege of Vicksburg and other major battles. After the war, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Gresham to a position on the United States District Court for the District of Indiana. Gresham remained on that court until 1883, when he resigned his position to become Postmaster General under President Chester A. Arthur. After briefly serving as Arthur's Secretary of the Treasury, Gresham accepted appointment to the United States circuit court for the Seventh Circuit.

Gresham was a candidate for the presidential nomination at the 1884 Republican National Convention and the 1888 Republican National Convention. Much of his support for those nominations came from agrarian unions like the Farmers' Alliance. In the 1892 presidential election, Gresham broke with the Republican Party and advocated the election of Democrat Grover Cleveland. After Cleveland won the election, Gresham resigned from the federal bench to serve as Cleveland's Secretary of State. Gresham held that position until his death in 1895.

William G. Donnan

William G. Donnan (June 30, 1834 – December 4, 1908) was a pioneer lawyer, Civil War officer, and two-term Republican U.S. Representative from Iowa's 3rd congressional district during the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant.

Born in West Charlton, a hamlet in Saratoga County, New York, Donnan attended the district schools and Cambridge Academy.

He was graduated from Union College in Schenectady, New York, in 1856.

He moved to Independence, Iowa, in 1856.

After studying law, he was admitted to the bar in 1856, and commenced practice at Independence in 1857. From 1857 to 1862, he was the treasurer and recorder of Buchanan County, Iowa.

In 1862, he entered the Union Army as a private in Company H, 27th Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He was promoted to the grade of first lieutenant and brevetted captain and major. He was adjutant on the staff of Gen. James Isham Gilbert. His hundred twenty-eight letters written to his wife Mary during the War are a valuable historical resource.

Following the War, he was elected to the Iowa Senate, initially serving in 1868 and 1870. He was largely instrumental in securing the establishment of the Mental Health Institute (formerly called the Iowa State Hospital for the Insane) at Independence.In 1870, incumbent Republican Third District Congressman William B. Allison focused on winning election to the U.S. Senate, and thus declined to seek re-election to his House seat. Donnan was elected as a Republican to succeed him, serving in the 42nd United States Congress. Donnan was re-elected two years later (in 1872), to serve in the Forty-third Congress. He declined to be a candidate for reelection in 1874. In all, he served in Congress from March 4, 1871 to March 3, 1875.

After his term ended, he resumed the practice of law at Independence, and remained active in politics. He was again elected to the Iowa Senate, serving from 1884 to 1886. He served as delegate-at-large to the 1884 Republican National Convention, and as chairman of the Republican State Central Committee from 1884 to 1886.

He later became president of the First National Bank of Independence. He died in Independence, on December 4, 1908. He was interred in Oakwood Cemetery.

The now-disincorporated town of Donnan, Iowa, in Fayette County was named for him.

William Sebring Kirkpatrick

William Sebring Kirkpatrick (April 21, 1844 – November 3, 1932) was a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania.

William S. Kirkpatrick (father of William Huntington Kirkpatrick) was born in Easton, Pennsylvania. He attended the public schools and Lafayette College in Easton. He studied law, was admitted to the bar, and commenced practice in Easton. He was the solicitor of Easton from 1866 to 1874. He worked as a teacher in the Easton public schools in 1868 and 1869. He was appointed president judge of the third judicial district in 1874, and served as a member of the faculty of Lafayette College from 1875 to 1877 and member of the board of trustees from 1890 to 1932. He presided temporarily over the Republican State convention in 1882. He was a delegate to the 1884 Republican National Convention. He was Attorney General of Pennsylvania from 1887 to 1891. He served as lecturer on municipal law at Lafayette College.

Kirkpatrick was an unsuccessful candidate for election in 1894. He was elected as a Republican to the Fifty-fifth Congress. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1898. For a year from 1902 to 1903 he served as the acting president at Lafayette while president Ethelbert Dudley Warfield recuperated in Europe. He resumed the practice of law and died in Easton, in 1932. Interment in Easton Cemetery.

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