1888 Republican National Convention

The 1888 Republican National Convention was a presidential nominating convention held at the Auditorium Building in Chicago, Illinois, on June 19–25, 1888. It resulted in the nomination of former Senator Benjamin Harrison of Indiana for President and Levi P. Morton of New York, a former Congressman and Minister to France, for Vice President. During the convention, Frederick Douglass was invited to speak and became the first African-American to have his name put forward for a presidential nomination in a major party's roll call vote; he received one vote from Kentucky on the fourth ballot.

The ticket won in the election of 1888, defeating President Grover Cleveland and former Senator Allen G. Thurman from Ohio.

1888 Republican National Convention
1888 presidential election
Pach Brothers - Benjamin Harrison
Levi Morton - Brady-Handy portrait - tight 3x4 crop
Harrison and Morton
Date(s)June 19–25, 1888
CityChicago, Illinois
VenueAuditorium Theatre
ChairMorris M. Estee
Presidential nomineeBenjamin Harrison of Indiana
Vice Presidential nomineeLevi P. Morton of New York
Other candidatesJohn Sherman
Russell A. Alger
Walter Q. Gresham
Total delegates832
Votes needed for nomination417
Results (President)Harrison (IN): 544 (65.38%)
Sherman (OH): 118 (14.18%)
Gresham (IN): 59 (7.09%)
Alger (MI): 100 (12.02%)
Blaine (ME): 5 (0.60%)
McKinley (OH): 4 (0.48%)
Douglass (MD): 1 (0.12%)
Others: 1 (0.12%)
Results (Vice President)Morton (NY): 592 (71.15%)
Phelps (NJ): 119 (14.3%)
Bradley (KY): 103 (12.38%)
Bruce (MS): 11 (1.32%)
Abstaining: 6 (0.72%)
Walter S. Thomas: 1 (0.12%)

Issues addressed

The lives of Benjamin Harrison and Levi P. Morton (1888) (14780070521) (cropped)
Illustration of the convention

Issues addressed in the convention included support for protective tariffs, repeal of taxes on tobacco, support for the use of gold and silver as currency and support for pensions for veterans. The party also expressed its opposition to polygamy.[1]

Presidential nomination

William Boyd Allison
U.S. Senator
William B. Allison
of Iowa
(Withdrew after 7th Ballot)
NYC RR President
Chauncey Depew
of New York
(Withdrew after 3rd Ballot)
John James Ingalls - Brady-Handy
U.S. Senator
John J. Ingalls
of Kansas
(Not Formally Nominated)
Edwin H. Fitler (Philadelphia Mayor)
Edwin Henry Fitler
of Pennsylvania
(Withdrew after 1st Ballot)
William McKinley
of Ohio
(Not Formally Nominated)
(Endorsed John Sherman)
Former Secretary of State
James G. Blaine
of Maine
(Declined to Contest)
Presidential Ballot
Ballot 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
Benjamin Harrison 80 91 94 217 213 231 278 544
John Sherman 229 249 244 235 224 244 231 118
Russell A. Alger 84 116 122 135 142 137 120 100
Walter Q. Gresham 111 108 123 98 87 91 91 59
William B. Allison 72 75 88 88 99 73 76 0
Chauncey Depew 99 99 91 0 0 0 0 0
James G. Blaine 35 33 35 42 48 40 15 5
John James Ingalls 28 16 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jeremiah McLain Rusk 25 20 16 0 0 0 0 0
William Walter Phelps 25 18 5 0 0 0 0 0
Edwin Henry Fitler 24 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
William McKinley 2 3 8 11 14 12 16 4
Robert Todd Lincoln 3 2 2 1 0 0 2 0
Samuel Freeman Miller 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0
Joseph B. Foraker 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0
Frederick Douglass 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Frederick Dent Grant 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
Creed Haymond 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0

Vice Presidential nomination

Former Representative and Minister to France Levi P. Morton from New York was asked if he wanted the second spot. He had been asked in 1880, but had declined. This time Morton decided to accept. He was easily elected on the first ballot.

Vice Presidential Ballot
Ballot 1st
Levi P. Morton 591
William Walter Phelps 119
William O'Connell Bradley 103
Blanche K. Bruce 11
Walter F. Thomas 1

Accusation of delegate vote-buying

1888 Republican National Convention in session in the Auditorium Building Chicago Ill (cropped)
Illustration of the convention

Nearly a decade later, Ohio candidate John Sherman accused Michigan candidate, millionaire Russell A. Alger, of buying the votes of Southern delegates who had already confirmed their vote for Sherman. In Sherman's 1895 two-volume book "Recollections" he asserted, "I believe, and had, as I thought, conclusive proof, that the friends of Gen. Alger substantially purchased the votes of many of the delegates from the Southern States who had been instructed by their conventions to vote for me." Once accused, Alger submitted correspondence to the New York Times, who published one letter from 1888, written after the convention to Alger, where Sherman states, "if you bought some [votes], according to universal usage, surely I don't blame you." Later in the same New York Times article, Alger insisted neither he or friends bought a single vote. The article also quotes another delegate, James Lewis, who claimed that "the colored delegates of the South will unite on a Union soldier in preference" instead of a civilian.[2]

When Sherman introduced his anti-trust legislation two years later, his main example of unlawful combination drew from a Michigan Supreme Court case involving Diamond Match Company and Alger's participation as president and stock holder.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Official Proceedings of the Republican National Convention Held at Chicago, June 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 25, 1888 Archived 2008-08-29 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ ALGER ANSWERS SHERMAN; Denial that Southern Delegates Sold Their Votes. THE SENATOR'S CHARGES REFUTED In an Autograph Letter He Practically Withdrew His Charge of Unfairness -- Gen. Sherman Not Opposed to the Purchase of Votes.[1]

External links

Preceded by
Republican National Conventions Succeeded by
1888 Democratic National Convention

The 1888 Democratic National Convention was a nominating convention held June 5 to 7, 1888, in the St. Louis Exposition and Music Hall in St. Louis, Missouri.

St. Louis won the convention after a presentation in February 1888.

1888 United States elections

The 1888 United States elections occurred during the Third Party System, and elected the members of the 51st United States Congress. North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming were admitted during the 51st Congress. This election was the first time that one party had won a majority in both chambers of Congress since the 1874 elections.In the Presidential election, Democratic President Grover Cleveland was defeated by Republican former Senator Benjamin Harrison of Indiana. At the 1888 Republican National Convention, Harrison was nominated on the eighth ballot, defeating Ohio Senator John Sherman, former Governor Russell A. Alger of Michigan, and several other candidates. As in 1876, the Republican candidate won the presidency despite the Democratic candidate's greater share of the popular vote. This situation would not be repeated until the 2000 election. Despite the popular vote margin, Harrison won a comfortable majority of the electoral college, and took most of the states outside the South.

Despite the close presidential race, Republicans picked up several seats in both houses of Congress. Republicans won major gains in the House, re-taking the majority for the first time since the 1882 elections. In the Senate, the Republicans won major gains, growing their majority in the chamber.

1888 United States presidential election

The United States presidential election of 1888 was the 26th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 6, 1888. Republican nominee Benjamin Harrison, a former Senator from Indiana, defeated incumbent Democratic President Grover Cleveland of New York. It was the third of five U.S. presidential elections in which the winner did not win a plurality or majority of the national popular vote.

Cleveland, the first Democratic president since the American Civil War, was unanimously re-nominated at the 1888 Democratic National Convention. He was the first incumbent president to win re-nomination since Grant was nominated to a second term in 1872. Harrison, the grandson of former President William Henry Harrison, emerged as the Republican nominee on the eighth ballot of the 1888 Republican National Convention. He defeated other prominent party leaders such as Senator John Sherman and former Governor Russell Alger.

Tariff policy was the principal issue in the election, as Cleveland had proposed a dramatic reduction in tariffs, arguing that high tariffs were unfair to consumers. Harrison took the side of industrialists and factory workers who wanted to keep tariffs high. Cleveland's opposition to Civil War pensions and inflated currency also made enemies among veterans and farmers. On the other hand, he held a strong hand in the South and border states, and appealed to former Republican Mugwumps.

Cleveland won a plurality of the popular vote, but Harrison won the election with a majority in the Electoral College. Harrison swept almost the entire North and Midwest, and narrowly carried the swing states of New York and Indiana.

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Walter Q. Gresham

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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.

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