1904 Democratic National Convention

The 1904 Democratic National Convention was an American presidential nominating convention that ran from July 6 through 10 in the Coliseum of the St. Louis Exposition and Music Hall in St. Louis, Missouri. Breaking with eight years of control by the Democratic Party's reform wing, the convention nominated conservative Judge Alton B. Parker of New York for President and Henry G. Davis of West Virginia for Vice President.

The Democratic ticket lost in the November 1904 presidential election to the Republican Party and its ticket of Theodore Roosevelt and Charles W. Fairbanks.

1904 Democratic National Convention
1904 presidential election
Parker and Davis
Date(s)July 6-10, 1904
CitySt. Louis, Missouri
VenueSt. Louis Exposition and Music Hall
Presidential nomineeAlton B. Parker of New York
Vice Presidential nomineeHenry G. Davis of West Virginia
Opening session, Democratic National Convention, 1904, St. Louis, Mo LCCN2007663555 (cropped2)
Opening session of the convention

Convention history


The 1904 Democratic National Convention was opened at two minutes past noon on July 6 in the Coliseum of the old St. Louis Exposition and Music Hall by James K. Jones, chair of the Democratic National Committee.[1] Following the reading of the official call of the convention and delivery of an opening prayer, John Sharp Williams of Mississippi was named the honorary chairman of the gathering,[1] emblematic of a return to power by the conservative Bourbon wing of the party.

The traditionalist Southerner Williams delivered an opening speech but was hindered by a voice unable to reach all of those assembled in the convention hall, many of whom, according to a contemporary press report, "kept up a constant hum of conversation that smothered Mr. Williams' voice."[1]

Presidential nomination

After the second straight defeat of Democratic presidential nominee William Jennings Bryan in the 1900 presidential election, the conservative allies of President Grover Cleveland regained power within the party.[2] However, with the popularity of President Theodore Roosevelt, many of the most prominent Democrats, such as Cleveland and former Attorney General Richard Olney, refused to run.[2] Additionally, Maryland Senator Arthur Pue Gorman alienated many in the South by opposing Roosevelt's policies in Panama.[2]

In this atmosphere, in advance of the convention conservative Democrats coalesced around New York Court of Appeals Judge Alton B. Parker, an ally of former New York Governor David B. Hill.[2] Parker hoped to one day sit on the United States Supreme Court, but was convinced to run by Hill, and the Parker campaign was backed by conservative business interests.[2] With the reform wing around Bryan and the ethnic political machine of Tammany Hall unable to agree upon a single alternative candidate, Parker was seen by many contemporary observers as a prohibitive favorite to win the nomination.[1]

Eight names were placed in nomination: Alton B. Parker, William Randolph Hearst, Francis Cockrell, Richard Olney, Edward C. Wall, George Gray, John Sharp Williams, and Nelson A. Miles. Representative Williams thanked the North Dakota delegation for its generosity but declined to be a candidate. Over the objections of Bryan, Parker defeated New York Congressman Hearst on the first ballot.[2] In a further defeat for Bryan, the Democrats adopted a conservative platform far different from the policies espoused in 1896 and 1900.[3] However, Bryan would re-take control of the party in the 1908 Democratic National Convention.

Presidential candidates


Presidential ballot
1st before shifts 1st after shifts Unanimous
Alton B. Parker 658 679 1,000
William Randolph Hearst 200 181
Francis Cockrell 42 42
Richard Olney 38 38
Edward C. Wall 27 27
George Gray 12 12
John Sharp Williams 8 8
Robert E. Pattison 4 4
George B. McClellan Jr. 3 3
Nelson A. Miles 3 3
Charles A. Towne 2 2
Arthur Pue Gorman 2 0
Bird S. Coler 1 1
1st Presidential Ballot
Before Shifts
1st Presidential Ballot
After Shifts

Vice presidential spot

With Democratic prospects in the November election appearing bleak, most prominent politicians expressed no interest in the vice presidential nomination, or declined when asked to consider it. The names of several lesser-known individuals were mentioned, including businessman Marshall Field of Illinois, former Congressman John C. Black of Illinois, Congressman James R. Williams of Illinois, attorney John W. Kern of Indiana, Edward C. Wall of Wisconsin, David Bost of Wisconsin, Governor Alexander Monroe Dockery of Missouri, and attorney Joseph W. Folk of Missouri.[3]

Four names were placed in nomination: Henry G. Davis, James R. Williams, George Turner, and William A. Harris. Davis, a wealthy, 80 year old former Senator, was given the honor in the hope he would finance part of the campaign. Davis did not donate as much as party leaders had hoped, but his contributions still represented a third of the party's entire expenditure on the presidential campaign.

Vice presidential candidates

Vice presidential ballot
1st Unanimous
Henry G. Davis 644 1,000
James R. Williams 165
George Turner 100
William A. Harris 58
Blank 33
1st Vice Presidential Ballot

Closing and notes

After nominating the ticket of Parker and Davis, the convention adjourned sine die at 1:30 pm on Sunday, July 10.[4]

The 1904 Democratic National Convention took place simultaneously with the 1904 World's Fair and the 1904 Summer Olympics.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Big Demonstration for Cleveland," Lincoln Star, July 6, 1904, pg. 1.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Kennedy, Robert C. "Citizen Parker". New York Times. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Bryan Crushed in Test of Strength". New York Times. 8 July 1904. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  4. ^ "Judge Parker and H.G. Davis Nominated," Mt. Carmel [PA] Item, July 11, 1904, pg. 3.

External links

Preceded by
Kansas City, Missouri
Democratic National Conventions Succeeded by
Denver, Colorado
1904 New York state election

The 1904 New York state election was held on November 8, 1904, to elect the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Secretary of State, the State Comptroller, the Attorney General, the State Treasurer, the State Engineer, the Chief Judge and an associate judge of the New York Court of Appeals, as well as all members of the New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate.

1904 Republican National Convention

The 1904 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States was held in the Chicago Coliseum, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, on June 21 to June 23, 1904.

The popular President Theodore Roosevelt had easily ensured himself of the nomination, though a threat had come from the Old Guard favourite Ohio Senator Mark Hanna, the loyal kingmaker in Republican politics. But the senator had died early in 1904 therefore ending all opposition in the Republican Party.

There were also very informal talks with future president William Howard Taft about trying for the nomination, but Taft refused these motions as evidenced by a letter to Henry Hoyt, the Solicitor General, in 1903.

Roosevelt was nominated by 994 votes to none. The other threat to Roosevelt, Indiana Senator Charles W. Fairbanks was nominated for Vice President.

1904 United States presidential election

The United States presidential election of 1904 was the 30th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 8, 1904. Incumbent Republican President Theodore Roosevelt defeated the Democratic nominee, Alton B. Parker. Roosevelt's victory made him the first president to win a term in his own right after having ascended to the presidency upon the death of a predecessor.

Roosevelt took the office in September 1901 following the assassination of his predecessor, William McKinley. After the February 1904 death of McKinley's ally, Senator Mark Hanna, Roosevelt faced little opposition at the 1904 Republican National Convention. The conservative Bourbon Democrat allies of former President Grover Cleveland temporarily regained control of the Democratic Party from the followers of William Jennings Bryan, and the 1904 Democratic National Convention nominated Alton B. Parker, Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals. Parker triumphed on the second ballot of the convention, defeating newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst.

As there was little difference between the candidates' positions, the race was largely based on their personalities; the Democrats argued the Roosevelt presidency was "arbitrary" and "erratic." Republicans emphasized Roosevelt's success in foreign affairs and his record of firmness against monopolies. Roosevelt easily defeated Parker, sweeping every region in the nation except the South. Two third-party candidates, Eugene V. Debs of the Socialist Party and Silas C. Swallow of the Prohibition Party, each took over 1% of the popular vote. Roosevelt's popular vote margin of 18.8% was the largest since James Monroe's victory in the 1820 presidential election.

Alton B. Parker

Alton Brooks Parker (May 14, 1852 – May 10, 1926) was an American judge, best known as the Democrat who lost the presidential election of 1904 to incumbent Theodore Roosevelt in a landslide.

A native of upstate New York, Parker practiced law in Kingston, New York, before being appointed to the New York Supreme Court and elected to the New York Court of Appeals; he served as Chief Judge of the latter from 1898 to 1904, when he resigned to run for president. In 1904, he defeated liberal publisher William Randolph Hearst for the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States. In the general election, Parker opposed popular incumbent Republican President Theodore Roosevelt. After a disorganized and ineffective campaign, Parker was defeated by 336 electoral votes to 140, carrying only the traditionally Democratic Solid South. He then returned to practicing law. He managed John A. Dix's successful 1910 campaign for Governor of New York and served as prosecution counsel for the 1913 impeachment of Dix's successor, Governor William Sulzer.

Carl Hayden

Carl Trumbull Hayden (October 2, 1877 – January 25, 1972) was an American politician and the first United States Senator to serve seven terms. Serving as Arizona's first Representative for eight terms before entering the Senate, Hayden set the record for longest-serving member of the United States Congress more than a decade before his retirement from politics. The longtime Dean of the United States Senate served as its president pro tempore and chairman of both its Rules and Administration and Appropriations committees. He was a member of the Democratic Party.

Having earned a reputation as a reclamation expert early in his congressional career, Hayden consistently backed legislation dealing with public lands, mining, reclamation, and other projects affecting the Western United States. In addition, he played a key role in creating the funding formula for the federal highway system. President John F. Kennedy said of Hayden, "Every Federal program which has contributed to the development of the West—irrigation, power, reclamation—bears his mark, and the great Federal highway program which binds this country together, which permits this State to be competitive east and west, north and south, this in large measure is his creation."Known as the "Silent Senator", Hayden rarely spoke on the Senate floor. Instead his influence came from committee meetings and Senate cloakroom discussions where his comments were "given a respect comparable to canon law". A colleague said of him, "No man in Senate history has wielded more influence with less oratory," while The Los Angeles Times wrote that Hayden had "assisted so many projects for so many senators that when old Carl wants something for his beloved Arizona, his fellow senators fall all over themselves giving him a hand. They'd probably vote landlocked Arizona a navy if he asked for it."

De Witt C. Flanagan

De Witt Clinton Flanagan (December 28, 1870, New York City – January 15, 1946, Utica, New York) was an American Democratic Party politician from New Jersey who represented the 4th congressional district from 1902 to 1903.

Francis Cockrell

Francis Marion Cockrell (October 1, 1834 – December 13, 1915) was a Confederate military commander and American politician from the state of Missouri. He served as a United States Senator from Missouri for five terms. He was a prominent member of the famed South–Cockrell–Hargis family of Southern politicians.

George Washington Bolton

George Washington Bolton (September 15, 1841 – August 2, 1931) was an American banker, merchant, politician, Southern Baptist layman, and the patriarch of an influential family in his adopted city of Alexandria, Louisiana.

Henry Gassaway Davis

Henry Gassaway Davis (November 16, 1823 – March 11, 1916) was a self-made millionaire and Senator from West Virginia. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for Vice President of the United States in 1904.

Born on a farm in Howard County, Maryland, he became a railroad executive before branching out into coal mining and banking as founder of the Potomac and Piedmont Coal and Railway Company. Davis won election to both houses of the West Virginia Legislature before serving as U.S. Senator from 1871 to 1883. His younger brother, Thomas Beall Davis, also served in Congress. After his tenure in the Senate ended, Davis continued to grow his business interests. In partnership with son-in-law, Stephen Benton Elkins, Davis created the Davis Coal and Coke Company and led it to become one of the largest coal companies in the world.

The 1904 Democratic National Convention nominated a ticket of Alton B. Parker for president and Davis for vice president. Davis was chosen primarily for his ability to provide funding to the campaign. At 80 years old, he remains the oldest person to ever serve on a major party's national ticket. The Republican ticket of Theodore Roosevelt and Charles W. Fairbanks prevailed by a wide margin. After the election, Davis helped establish Davis & Elkins College, and he died in 1916.

James B. Weaver

James Baird Weaver (June 12, 1833 – February 6, 1912) was a member of the United States House of Representatives and two-time candidate for President of the United States. Born in Ohio, he moved to Iowa as a boy when his family claimed a homestead on the frontier. He became politically active as a young man and was an advocate for farmers and laborers. He joined and quit several political parties in the furtherance of the progressive causes in which he believed. After serving in the Union Army in the American Civil War, Weaver returned to Iowa and worked for the election of Republican candidates. After several unsuccessful attempts at Republican nominations to various offices, and growing dissatisfied with the conservative wing of the party, in 1877 Weaver switched to the Greenback Party, which supported increasing the money supply and regulating big business. As a Greenbacker with Democratic support, Weaver won election to the House in 1878.

The Greenbackers nominated Weaver for president in 1880, but he received only 3.3 percent of the popular vote. After several more attempts at elected office, he was again elected to the House in 1884 and 1886. In Congress, he worked for expansion of the money supply and for the opening of Indian Territory to white settlement. As the Greenback Party fell apart, a new anti-big business third party, the People's Party ("Populists"), arose. Weaver helped to organize the party and was their nominee for president in 1892. This time he was more successful and gained 8.5 percent of the popular vote and won five states, but still fell far short of victory. The Populists merged with the Democrats by the end of the 19th century, and Weaver went with them, promoting the candidacy of William Jennings Bryan for president in 1896, 1900, and 1908. After serving as mayor of his home town, Colfax, Iowa, Weaver retired from his pursuit of elective office. He died in Iowa in 1912. Most of Weaver's political goals remained unfulfilled at his death, but many came to pass in the following decades.

John A. Maguire

John Arthur Maguire (November 29, 1870 – July 1, 1939) was an American Democratic Party politician.

He was born near Elizabeth, Illinois on November 29, 1870, and moved to the Dakota Territory in 1882 with his parents settling near what is now Plankinton, South Dakota. He graduated from Plankinton High School in 1889 and attended the Agricultural College in Brookings, South Dakota from 1890 to 1893. He graduated from the Iowa State College of Agriculture (now Iowa State University) at Ames, Iowa in 1893 and the law department of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1899.

He was deputy treasurer of Lancaster County, Nebraska from 1899 to 1901, also passing the bar in 1899. He set up practice in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1902. He was a delegate to the 1904 Democratic National Convention and the secretary to the Democratic State committee in 1905.

He was elected in 1909 to the Sixty-first United States Congress and reelected to the Sixty-second and Sixty-third Congresses. He ran unsuccessfully for reelection in 1914, returning then to his practice of law in Lincoln. He was appointed a municipal judge on January 1, 1938 and died on July 1, 1939. He is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Lincoln.

John Alden Dix

John Alden Dix (December 25, 1860 – April 9, 1928) was an American businessman and politician who served as 38th Governor of New York from January 1911 to December 1912.

A native of Glens Falls, New York, Dix attended Cornell University before becoming active in several Dix family business ventures. He later expanded into the lumber and paper industries, where his success made him wealthy.

Dix became active in politics as a Democratic Party, and served terms as chairman of the Washington County Democratic Committee and the New York State Democratic Committee. In 1908, Dix was an unsuccessful candidate for Lieutenant Governor of New York.

In 1910, Dix was the successful Democratic nominee for governor, and he served one two-year term, January 1911 to December 1912. His term was largely concerned with issues of workplace safety in the wake of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. In 1912, Dix ran for reelection, but lost the Democratic nomination to William Sulzer.

After leaving the governorship, Dix returned to management of his business interests. In retirement he became a resident of Santa Barbara, California. He died in New York City in 1928, and was buried in Albany, New York.

John T. Heard

John Taddeus Heard (October 29, 1840 – January 27, 1927) was a Democratic Representative representing Missouri from March 4, 1885 to March 3, 1895.

Heard was born in Georgetown, Missouri in Pettis County, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri in 1860. He was admitted to the bar in 1862 and practiced law in Sedalia, Missouri. He was a member of the Missouri State House of Representatives in 1872–1875; Missouri State Senate in 1880–1884; employed in 1881 by the fund commissioners of the State to prosecute and adjust all claims of the State against the General Government. While in Congress he was chairman, Committee on District of Columbia (Fifty-third Congress); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1894 to the Fifty-fourth Congress; delegate to the 1904 Democratic National Convention.

He died on January 27, 1927 while on a visit to Los Angeles, California. He is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery in Sedalia.

The John T. and Lillian Heard House at Sedalia was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011.

Martin W. Littleton

Martin Wiley Littleton (January 12, 1872 – December 19, 1934) was an American attorney known for his involvement in a number of high-profile trials during the early 1900s, including serving as chief defense counsel for Harry Kendall Thaw at his second trial in 1908 for the murder of renowned architect Stanford White, and defending Harry Ford Sinclair, the head of Sinclair Oil, from criminal charges resulting from the Teapot Dome scandal. Littleton also served one term as United States Representative from New York from 1911 to 1913, and was borough president of Brooklyn.Littleton initially supported himself through menial labor and was largely self-educated, never attending college or law school. He eventually became one of the richest lawyers in the world, and has been mentioned as an example of a "rags to riches" success story in motivational books and articles.He was the father of attorney Martin W. Littleton, Jr., the district attorney of Nassau County, New York who was involved in the investigation into the death of Starr Faithfull and the murder prosecutions of Everett Applegate and Mary Frances Creighton.

St. Louis Exposition and Music Hall

St. Louis Exposition and Music Hall was an indoor exposition hall, Music Hall and arena in St. Louis, Missouri from 1883 to 1907.

Three national presidential nominating conventions were held in three separate buildings in or near the complex between 1888 and 1904 including the 1888 Democratic National Convention, 1896 Republican National Convention, and 1904 Democratic National Convention. In addition to the 1904 Democratic convention, it was used as a large venue for other conventions and congresses during the 1904 World's Fair.The 502 by 332 ft (153 by 101 m) exposition hall was built initially at a cost of US$750,000. It was designed by Jerome Bibb Legg and completed in 1884. Legg's most prominent existing building is Academic Hall at Southeast Missouri State University.Originally built to house the St. Louis Exposition, an annual fair, it covered 6 acres (2.4 ha) at Olive and 13th Streets and was one of the first buildings in the country to have electric lights.

The Music Hall, which was a home for the St. Louis Symphony, had a stage which could accommodate 1,500 people and claimed to be one of the world's largest. Its seating capacity was 3,500.In the winter of 1896 the Republican National Convention planned to be in a rebuilt permanent building in the center. However, it was determined that it would not be ready in time for the convention so a temporary wooden convention was erected on the lawn south of City Hall (three blocks south of the Exposition Hall). The temporary structure was erected within sixty days at cost of $60,000 including decorations.

Following the 1896 Convention, the temporary structure as well as the Exposition building were torn down and a new Coliseum was built on the site of the Exposition Building. The new Coliseum had an arena of 112 by 222 ft (68 m) with an 84 ft (26 m) ceiling. It had a single span trussed roof, with no columns or obstructions. The seating capacity was 7,000 but could be expanded to 12,000. It was rated at 10,500 for its 1904 convention.The whole structure including the new Coliseum and Music Hall were torn down in 1907 when the St. Louis Central Library was built at its location and the new St. Louis Coliseum was constructed.

Timeline of St. Louis

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of St. Louis, Missouri, United States.

Vernon A. Bullard

Vernon A. Bullard (October 14, 1858 - September 8, 1928) was a Vermont attorney and public official. He was notable for his service as United States Attorney for the District of Vermont from 1916 to 1923.

Bullard was a native of Hyde Park, Vermont, and taught school while completing his education at Vermont Normal School and University of Michigan Law School. He practiced law beginning in 1884, first in Underhill and later in Burlington.

A Democrat, Bullard served terms in the Vermont House of Representatives, and ran unsuccessfully for offices including Vermont Attorney General. From 1915 to 1923, Bullard served as Vermont's U.S. Attorney.

Bullard died in Burlington and was buried at Riverbank Cemetery, Stowe, Vermont.

William James Bryan

William James Bryan (October 10, 1876 – March 22, 1908) was an American politician, attorney, and prosecutor who was a Democratic U.S. Senator from the American state of Florida. Bryan's stint in the Senate was brief, having been appointed to fill a vacancy the day after Christmas of 1907 — less than three months before his own death at the age of 31.

William Jennings Bryan

William Jennings Bryan (March 19, 1860 – July 26, 1925) was an American orator and politician from Nebraska. Beginning in 1896, he emerged as a dominant force in the Democratic Party, standing three times as the party's nominee for President of the United States. He also served in the United States House of Representatives and as the United States Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson. Just before his death he gained national attention for attacking the teaching of evolution in the Scopes Trial. Because of his faith in the wisdom of the common people, he was often called "The Great Commoner".Born and raised in Illinois, Bryan moved to Nebraska in the 1880s. He won election to the House of Representatives in the 1890 elections, serving two terms before making an unsuccessful run for the Senate in 1894. At the 1896 Democratic National Convention, Bryan delivered his "Cross of Gold speech" which attacked the gold standard and the eastern moneyed interests and crusaded for inflationary policies built around the expanded coinage of silver coins. In a repudiation of incumbent President Grover Cleveland and his conservative Bourbon Democrats, the Democratic convention nominated Bryan for president, making Bryan the youngest major party presidential nominee in U.S. history. Subsequently, Bryan was also nominated for president by the left-wing Populist Party, and many Populists would eventually follow Bryan into the Democratic Party. In the intensely fought 1896 presidential election, Republican nominee William McKinley emerged triumphant. Bryan gained fame as an orator as he invented the national stumping tour when he reached an audience of 5 million people in 27 states in 1896.

Bryan retained control of the Democratic Party and won the presidential nomination again in 1900. In the aftermath of the Spanish–American War, Bryan became a fierce opponent of American imperialism, and much of the campaign centered on that issue. In the election, McKinley again defeated Bryan, winning several Western states that Bryan had won in 1896. Bryan's influence in the party weakened after the 1900 election, and the Democrats nominated the conservative Alton B. Parker in the 1904 presidential election. Bryan regained his stature in the party after Parker's resounding defeat by Theodore Roosevelt, and voters from both parties increasingly embraced the progressive reforms that had long been championed by Bryan. Bryan won his party's nomination in the 1908 presidential election, but he was defeated by Roosevelt's chosen successor, William Howard Taft. Along with Henry Clay, Bryan is one of only two individuals who while running for President received electoral votes in three separate presidential elections but never won a presidential election. The 493 cumulative electoral votes cast for Bryan in those three elections are the most received by a presidential candidate never elected.

After the Democrats won the presidency in the 1912 election, Woodrow Wilson rewarded Bryan's support with the important cabinet position of Secretary of State. Bryan helped Wilson pass several progressive reforms through Congress, but he and Wilson clashed over U.S. neutrality in World War I. Bryan resigned from his post in 1915 after Wilson sent Germany a note of protest in response to the sinking of Lusitania by a German U-boat. After leaving office, Bryan retained some of his influence within the Democratic Party, but he increasingly devoted himself to religious matters and anti-evolution activism. He opposed Darwinism on religious and humanitarian grounds, most famously in the 1925 Scopes Trial. Since his death in 1925, Bryan has elicited mixed reactions from various commentators, but he is widely considered to have been one of the most influential figures of the Progressive Era.

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