Front porch campaign

A front porch campaign is a low-key electoral campaign used in American politics in which the candidate remains close to or at home to make speeches to supporters who come to visit. The candidate largely does not travel around or otherwise actively campaign.[1] The successful presidential campaigns of James A. Garfield in 1880, Benjamin Harrison in 1888, and William McKinley in 1896 are perhaps the best-known front porch campaigns.

McKinley's opposing candidate, William Jennings Bryan, gave over 600 speeches and traveled many miles all over the United States to campaign, but McKinley outdid this by spending about twice as much money campaigning. While McKinley was at his Canton, Ohio, home conducting his "front-porch campaign", Mark Hanna was out raising millions to help with the campaign.

Another president that has been known for his front porch campaign was Warren G. Harding during the presidential election of 1920.

The concept remains in use in American politics, and was used in June 2008 by then U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions to describe his low-key renomination bid in Alabama's Republican primary, where he received 92 percent of the vote.[2]

EugeneDebs
Clifford Berryman's cartoon depiction of Eugene V. Debs' campaign from prison satirizes Harding's front porch campaign in the Election of 1920.

McKinley campaign

Front porch campaign 2
Image of a delegation visiting Republican presidential candidate William McKinley in Canton, OH, October 1896

Throughout the course of the 1896 presidential campaign, McKinley spoke to more than 700,000 supporters in front of his house in Canton.[3] These speeches started as organized meetings between McKinley and delegations from all over the nation. Although it was expensive for the campaign to bring these delegations, all in all, this idea became a good strategy because of the publicity it generated. In addition, due to the fact that McKinley's campaign chose those who would travel as part of the delegation, it was possible to make those who spoke portray McKinley positively.[4]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Front-Porch Campaign." Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.
  2. ^ Rawls, Phillip. (June 4, 2008) Associated Press Incumbent Jeff Sessions wins Senate nomination in Alabama.
  3. ^ "Marker #17-76 William McKinley." Remarkable Ohio. The Ohio Historical Society, 2003. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.
  4. ^ "#25: William McKinley: The Front Porch Campaign. N.p." presidentsbythebook.blogspot.com. 26 February 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2012.

External links

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.

1896 United States presidential election

The United States presidential election of 1896 was the 28th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 3, 1896. Former Governor William McKinley, the Republican candidate, defeated Democrat William Jennings Bryan. The 1896 campaign, which took place during an economic depression known as the Panic of 1893, was a realigning election that ended the old Third Party System and began the Fourth Party System.Incumbent Democratic President Grover Cleveland did not seek election to a second consecutive term, leaving the Democratic nomination open. Bryan, an attorney and former Congressman, galvanized support with his Cross of Gold speech, which called for a reform of the monetary system and attacked business leaders as the cause of ongoing economic depression. The 1896 Democratic National Convention repudiated the Cleveland administration and nominated Bryan on the fifth presidential ballot. Bryan then won the nomination of the Populist Party, which had won several states in 1892 and shared many of Bryan's policies. In opposition to Bryan, some conservative Bourbon Democrats formed the National Democratic Party and nominated Senator John M. Palmer. McKinley prevailed by a wide margin on the first ballot of the 1896 Republican National Convention.

Since the onset of the Panic of 1893, the nation had been mired in a deep economic depression, marked by low prices, low profits, high unemployment, and violent strikes. Economic issues, especially tariff policy and the question of whether the gold standard should be preserved for the money supply, were central issues. McKinley forged a conservative coalition in which businessmen, professionals, and prosperous farmers, and skilled factory workers turned off by Bryan's agrarian policies were heavily represented. McKinley was strongest in cities and in the Northeast, Upper Midwest, and Pacific Coast. Republican campaign manager Mark Hanna pioneered many modern campaign techniques, facilitated by a $3.5 million budget. Bryan presented his campaign as a crusade of the working man against the rich, who impoverished America by limiting the money supply. Silver, he said, was in ample supply and if coined into money would restore prosperity while undermining the illicit power of the money trust. Bryan was strongest in the South, rural Midwest, and Rocky Mountain states. Bryan's moralistic rhetoric and crusade for inflation (to be generated by the institution of bimetallism) alienated conservatives.

Bryan campaigned vigorously throughout the swing states of the Midwest, while McKinley conducted a "front porch" campaign. At the end of an intensely heated contest, McKinley won a majority of the popular and electoral vote. Bryan won 46.7% of the popular vote, while Palmer won just under 1% of the vote. Turnout was very high, passing 90% of the eligible voters in many places. The Democratic Party's repudiation of its Bourbon faction largely gave Bryan and his supporters control of the Democratic Party until the 1920s, and set the stage for Republican domination of the Fourth Party System.

1904 Alton Parker presidential campaign

After U.S. President William McKinley was assassinated in 1901, Theodore Roosevelt became the new U.S. President. Roosevelt's first term was notable for his trust busting, his successful arbitration in and resolution of a 1902 strike of 150,000 Pennsylvania coal miners, his advocacy against lynching, his conservation efforts, and the Panama Canal Treaty. In 1904, Roosevelt easily defeated Bourbon Democrat Alton Parker and won a second term as U.S. President.

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.

Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site

The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, previously known as the Benjamin Harrison Home, was the home of the Twenty-third President of the United States, Benjamin Harrison. It is in the Old Northside Historic District of Indianapolis, Indiana. Harrison had the sixteen-room house with its red brick exterior built in the 1870s. It was from the front porch of the house that Harrison instituted his famous Front Porch Campaign in the 1888 United States Presidential Campaign, often speaking to crowds on the street. In 1896, Harrison renovated the house and added electricity. He died there in a second story bedroom in 1901. Today it is owned by the Arthur Jordan Foundation and operated as a museum to the former president by the Benjamin Harrison Foundation.

Canton, Ohio

Canton () is a city in and the county seat of Stark County, Ohio, United States. Canton is located approximately 60 miles (97 km) south of Cleveland and 20 miles (32 km) south of Akron in Northeast Ohio. The city lies on the edge of Ohio's extensive Amish country, particularly in Holmes and Wayne counties to the city's west and southwest. Canton is the largest municipality in the Canton-Massillon, OH Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Stark and Carroll counties. As of the 2010 Census, the population was 404,422. The city proper had 73,007 residents, making Canton eighth among Ohio cities in population.

Founded in 1805 alongside the Middle and West Branches of Nimishillen Creek, Canton became a heavy manufacturing center because of its numerous railroad lines. However, its status in that regard began to decline during the late 20th century, as shifts in the manufacturing industry led to the relocation or downsizing of many factories and workers. After this decline, the city's industry diversified into the service economy, including retailing, education, finance and healthcare.

Canton is chiefly notable for being the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the birthplace of the National Football League. 25th U.S. President William McKinley conducted the famed front porch campaign, which won him the presidency of the United States in the 1896 election, from his home in Canton. The McKinley National Memorial and the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum commemorate his life and presidency. Canton was also chosen as the site of the First Ladies National Historic Site largely in honor of his wife, Ida Saxton McKinley.

Canton is currently experiencing an urban renaissance, anchored by its growing and thriving arts district centrally located in the downtown area. Several historic buildings have been rehabilitated and converted into upscale lofts, attracting thousands of new downtown residents into the city. Furthering this downtown development, in June 2016, Canton became one of the first cities in Ohio to allow the open consumption of alcoholic beverages in a "designated outdoor refreshment area" pursuant to a state law enacted in 2015 (Sub. H.B. No. 47).

Frank Packard

Frank L. Packard (11 June 1866 - 26 October 1923) was a prominent architect in Ohio.

He designed the porch for the home of President Warren G. Harding in Marion, Ohio (Harding Home). Known as stick style architecture the house was designed by Harding and his wife and constructed in a neoclassical architecture style. The porch, known as the home of the Front Porch Campaign of 1920, was influenced by the Queen Anne era in that it wraps around the house. Highly stylized and decorative versions of the Stick style are often referred to as Eastlake architecture.

He is buried in Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio.

Garret Hobart

Garret Augustus Hobart (June 3, 1844 – November 21, 1899) was the 24th vice president of the United States, serving from 1897 until his death in 1899. He was the sixth American vice president to die in office.

Hobart was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, on the Jersey Shore, and grew up in nearby Marlboro. After attending Rutgers College, Hobart read law with prominent Paterson attorney Socrates Tuttle. The two studied together, and Hobart married Tuttle's daughter Jennie. Although he rarely set foot in a courtroom, Hobart became wealthy as a corporate lawyer.

Hobart served in local governmental positions, and then successfully ran for office as a Republican, serving in both the New Jersey General Assembly and the New Jersey Senate. He became Speaker of the first, and president of the latter. Hobart was a longtime party official, and New Jersey delegates went to the 1896 Republican National Convention determined to nominate the popular lawyer for vice president. Hobart's political views were similar to those of McKinley, who was the presumptive Republican presidential candidate. With New Jersey a key state in the upcoming election, McKinley and his close adviser, future senator Mark Hanna, decided to have the convention select Hobart. The vice-presidential candidate emulated his running mate with a front porch campaign, though spending much time at the campaign's New York City office. McKinley and Hobart were elected.

As vice president, Hobart proved a popular figure in Washington and was a close adviser to McKinley. Hobart's tact and good humor were valuable to the President, as in mid-1899 when Secretary of War Russell Alger failed to understand that McKinley wanted him to leave office. Hobart invited Alger to his New Jersey summer home, and broke the news to the secretary, who submitted his resignation to McKinley on his return to Washington. Hobart died on November 21, 1899 of a heart disease at age 55; his place on the Republican ticket in 1900 was taken by New York Governor Theodore Roosevelt.

Grover Cleveland 1888 presidential campaign

President of the United States Grover Cleveland's first term (1885-1889) was most notable "for its record number of vetoes (414), more than double the number issued by all his predecessors combined." During Cleveland's first term, controlling Congressional and wasteful spending was an important priority for him and his administration. Cleveland's vetoes (and other moves, such as issuing "an executive order [which was later rescinded] directing the return of captured Confederate battle standards to their home states") angered the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a powerful organization advocating for Union veterans. In his State of the Union Address in December 1887, President Cleveland called for lower tariffs and tariff reform, making it a major issue in the upcoming 1888 U.S. Presidential election.

Harding Home

The Harding Home is a historic house museum at 380 Mount Vernon Avenue in Marion, Ohio. It was the residence of Warren G. Harding, twenty-ninth president of the United States. Harding and his future wife, Florence, designed the Queen Anne Style house in 1890, a year before their marriage. They were married there and lived there for 30 years before his election to the presidency.

Like James A. Garfield, an earlier U.S. president from Ohio, Harding conducted his election campaign mainly from the house's expansive front porch. During the 3 month front porch campaign, over 600,000 people traveled to the Harding Home to listen to Warren speak. George Christian (Warren's next door neighbor and Press Secretary) allowed his home to be used as Republican Headquarters for the campaign. In 1920, Harding built a small bungalow-style structure behind the Christian House so newspaper reporters had workspace to type their stories.

The house is surrounded by an expansive, elaborately detailed porch. Entry to the house is through a reception hall, with a parlor on the left. A dining room and Harding's office are also in the first floor. There are four bedrooms on the second floor and a bathroom. Built-in closets are an unusual feature for the time.Mrs. Harding bequeathed the house to the Harding Memorial Association. The Ohio Historical Society now operates the home as a historic house museum and a memorial. The restored house contains almost all original furnishings owned by President Harding and his wife. The adjacent press house features exhibits about the lives of President and Mrs. Harding. The collection at the Harding Home is over 5,000 original artifacts that belonged to Warren and Florence Harding.On April 12, 2016 Harding 2020, a collaboration between Ohio History Connection, the Harding Home, and Marion Technical College, detailed plans to spend $7.3 million at the site to establish the Warren G. Harding Presidential Center. Plans include restoring the home (inside and out) and its grounds to its 1920 appearance. The culmination of the work is to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Harding's election to the presidency.

James A. Garfield

James Abram Garfield (November 19, 1831 – September 19, 1881) was the 20th president of the United States, serving from March 4, 1881 until his death by assassination six and a half months later. Garfield had served nine terms in the House of Representatives, and had been elected to the Senate before his candidacy for the White House, though he declined the Senate seat once elected president. He was the first sitting member of Congress to be elected to the presidency, and remains the only sitting House member to gain the White House.Garfield was raised by his widowed mother in humble circumstances on an Ohio farm. He worked at various jobs, including on a canal boat, in his youth. Beginning at age 17, he attended several Ohio schools, then studied at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, graduating in 1856. A year later, Garfield entered politics as a Republican. He married Lucretia Rudolph in 1858, and served as a member of the Ohio State Senate (1859–1861). Garfield opposed Confederate secession, served as a major general in the Union Army during the American Civil War, and fought in the battles of Middle Creek, Shiloh, and Chickamauga. He was first elected to Congress in 1862 to represent Ohio's 19th District. Throughout Garfield's extended congressional service after the Civil War, he firmly supported the gold standard and gained a reputation as a skilled orator. Garfield initially agreed with Radical Republican views regarding Reconstruction, but later favored a moderate approach for civil rights enforcement for freedmen.

At the 1880 Republican National Convention, Senator-elect Garfield attended as campaign manager for Secretary of the Treasury John Sherman, and gave the presidential nomination speech for him. When neither Sherman nor his rivals – Ulysses S. Grant and James G. Blaine – could get enough votes to secure the nomination, delegates chose Garfield as a compromise on the 36th ballot. In the 1880 presidential election, Garfield conducted a low-key front porch campaign, and narrowly defeated Democrat Winfield Scott Hancock.

Garfield's accomplishments as president included a resurgence of presidential authority against senatorial courtesy in executive appointments, energizing American naval power, and purging corruption in the Post Office, all during his extremely short time in office. Garfield made notable diplomatic and judicial appointments, including a U.S. Supreme Court justice. He enhanced the powers of the presidency when he defied the powerful New York senator Roscoe Conkling by appointing William H. Robertson to the lucrative post of Collector of the Port of New York, starting a fracas that ended with Robertson's confirmation and Conkling's resignation from the Senate. Garfield advocated agricultural technology, an educated electorate, and civil rights for African Americans. He also proposed substantial civil service reform, eventually passed by Congress in 1883 and signed into law by his successor, Chester A. Arthur, as the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act.

On July 2, 1881, he was shot at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station in Washington D.C. by Charles J. Guiteau, a disappointed office seeker. The wound was not immediately fatal for Garfield, but his doctors' uncleaned and unprotected hands are said to have led to infection that caused his death on September 19. Guiteau was convicted of the murder and was executed in June 1882; he tried to name his crime as simple assault by blaming the doctors for Garfield's death. With his term cut short by his death after only 200 days, and much of it spent in ill health trying to recover from the attack, Garfield is little-remembered other than for his assassination. Historians often forgo listing him in rankings of U.S. presidents due to the short length of his presidency.

James A. Garfield National Historic Site

James A. Garfield National Historic Site is a United States National Historic Site located in Mentor, Ohio. The site preserves the property associated with the 20th President of the United States, James A. Garfield, and includes the first presidential library established in the United States.

McKinley Birthplace Memorial dollar

The McKinley Birthplace Memorial dollar was a commemorative coin struck in gold by the United States Bureau of the Mint in 1916 and 1917, depicting the 25th President of the United States, William McKinley. The coin's obverse was designed by Mint Chief Engraver Charles E. Barber, and the reverse by his assistant, George T. Morgan. As McKinley had appeared on a version of the 1903-dated Louisiana Purchase Exposition dollar, the 1916 release made him the first person to appear on two issues of U.S. coins.

The coins were to be sold at a premium to finance the National McKinley Birthplace Memorial at Niles, Ohio, and were vended by the group constructing it. The issue was originally proposed as a silver dollar; this was changed when it was realized it would not be appropriate to honor a president who had supported the gold standard with such a piece. The coins were poorly promoted, and did not sell well. Despite an authorized mintage of 100,000, only about 20,000 were sold, many of these at a reduced price to Texas coin dealer B. Max Mehl. Another 10,000 pieces were returned to the Mint for melting.

Mentor, Ohio

Mentor ( MEN-tər) is a city in Lake County, Ohio, United States. Mentor was first settled in 1797. The population was 47,159 at the 2010 census. In July 2010, CNNMoney.com ranked Mentor 37th in a list of the Top 100 Best Places to Live in America.In 1876 James A. Garfield purchased a home in Mentor, from which he conducted the first successful front porch campaign for the presidency. Garfield coined the term "Mentorite" when referring to a native of Mentor. That house is now maintained as the James A. Garfield National Historic Site. The city is home to Headlands Beach State Park, the longest public swimming beach in Ohio. The city is a major center of retail stores, ranking sixth-largest in Ohio as of 2012, and restaurants, ranking seventh-largest in the state as of 2012. Mentor Avenue (US 20) is the major retail center, which includes the Great Lakes Mall, with additional shopping and strip malls found along most major roads. Convenient Food Mart is based in Mentor. Major products include medical related, polymers, plastics, electric boards and other peripherals that generally serve the computer and automation industries. Two major railroads pass through the city, CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern.

Mentor's school system consists of eight elementary schools, two middle schools, and Mentor High School. Like many school systems in Ohio, Mentor Schools suffered a financial crisis in the early 2000s, but passed a large levy and is now largely on solid footing. It is one of the fastest Ohio school systems ever to emerge from fiscal emergency. The financial difficulties were due in part to years of accounting fraud.City government is based on a city manager executive appointed by city council. The city encourages development of light industry, which is reflected in its diverse economy and very low property taxes.

Many bike paths have been built in Mentor in recent years.The pronunciation of the city's name is a shibboleth, with some residents pronouncing it as "men-ner" and outsiders using the more conventional "men-tore", while in the media and among most residents, "men-ter" is prominent. The city's slogan, "It's better in Mentor," reflects this fact.

Mentor is named after the Greek figure Mentor, in keeping with the Connecticut Western Reserve settlers' tradition, as well as that of most other Americans at the time, of celebrating aspects of Greek classicism (nearby Solon, Macedonia, Euclid, and Akron also were named using that principle).

Porch (disambiguation)

Porch is an architectural element of building entrances.

Porch (surname)

Robert Bagehot Porch (1875-1962), English cricketerPorch may also refer to:

Porch, an online home-improvement resource platform

"Porch" (Pearl Jam song), from their 1991 album Ten

Front porch and back porch, a video synchronization technique

Front porch campaign, a form of home-based political campaigning

Vestibule (architecture), sometimes referred to as a porch

Garage (house), a part of a residential building, used for storing vehicles

Warren G. Harding

Warren Gamaliel Harding (November 2, 1865 – August 2, 1923) was the 29th president of the United States from 1921 until his death in 1923, a member of the Republican Party. At that time, he was one of the most popular U.S. presidents, but the subsequent exposure of scandals that took place under his administration such as Teapot Dome eroded his popular regard, as did revelations of an affair by Nan Britton, one of his mistresses. In historical rankings of the U.S. presidents, Harding is often rated among the worst.

Harding lived in rural Ohio all his life, except when political service took him elsewhere. As a young man, he bought The Marion Star, building it into a successful newspaper. In 1899, he was elected to the Ohio State Senate and after four years there successfully ran for lieutenant governor. He was defeated for governor in 1910, but was elected to the United States Senate in 1914. When Harding ran for the Republican nomination for president in 1920 he was considered a long shot until after the convention began. Then the leading candidates, such as General Leonard Wood, could not gain the needed majority and the convention deadlocked. Harding's support gradually grew until he was nominated on the 10th ballot. He conducted a front porch campaign, remaining for the most part in Marion and allowing the people to come to him. Running on a theme of a return to normalcy of the pre-WWI period, he won in a landslide over Democrat James M. Cox and Socialist Party candidate Eugene Debs and became the first sitting U.S. Senator to be elected president.

Harding appointed a number of well-regarded figures to his cabinet, including Andrew Mellon at the Treasury, Herbert Hoover at Commerce and Charles Evans Hughes at the State Department. A major foreign policy achievement came with the Washington Naval Conference of 1921–1922, in which the world's major naval powers agreed on a naval limitations program that lasted a decade. Two members of his cabinet were implicated in separate incidents of corruption: Interior Secretary Albert Fall and Attorney General Harry Daugherty. The resulting scandals did not fully emerge until after Harding's death, nor did word of his extramarital affairs, and these issues greatly damaged his reputation after his death. Harding died of a heart attack in San Francisco while on a western speaking tour, and was succeeded by his vice president, Calvin Coolidge.

White House Rose Garden

The White House Rose Garden is a garden bordering the Oval Office and the West Wing of the White House in Washington, D.C., United States. The garden is approximately 125 feet long and 60 feet wide (38 meters by 18 meters). It balances the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden on the east side of the White House Complex.

William McKinley

William McKinley (January 29, 1843 – September 14, 1901) was the 25th president of the United States, serving from March 4, 1897, until his assassination six months into his second term. McKinley led the nation to victory in the Spanish–American War, raised protective tariffs to promote American industry and kept the nation on the gold standard in a rejection of free silver (effectively, expansionary monetary policy).

McKinley was the last president to have served in the American Civil War and the only one to have started the war as an enlisted soldier, beginning as a private in the Union Army and ending as a brevet major. After the war, he settled in Canton, Ohio, where he practiced law and married Ida Saxton. In 1876, he was elected to Congress, where he became the Republican Party's expert on the protective tariff, which he promised would bring prosperity. His 1890 McKinley Tariff was highly controversial, which together with a Democratic redistricting aimed at gerrymandering him out of office led to his defeat in the Democratic landslide of 1890. He was elected governor of Ohio in 1891 and 1893, steering a moderate course between capital and labor interests. With the aid of his close adviser Mark Hanna, he secured the Republican nomination for president in 1896 amid a deep economic depression. He defeated his Democratic rival William Jennings Bryan after a front porch campaign in which he advocated "sound money" (the gold standard unless altered by international agreement) and promised that high tariffs would restore prosperity.

Rapid economic growth marked McKinley's presidency. He promoted the 1897 Dingley Tariff to protect manufacturers and factory workers from foreign competition and in 1900 secured the passage of the Gold Standard Act. McKinley hoped to persuade Spain to grant independence to rebellious Cuba without conflict, but when negotiation failed he led the nation into the Spanish–American War of 1898—the United States victory was quick and decisive. As part of the peace settlement, Spain turned over to the United States its main overseas colonies of Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines while Cuba was promised independence, but at that time remained under the control of the United States Army. The United States annexed the independent Republic of Hawaii in 1898 and it became a United States territory.

Historians regard McKinley's 1896 victory as a realigning election in which the political stalemate of the post-Civil War era gave way to the Republican-dominated Fourth Party System, which began with the Progressive Era. McKinley defeated Bryan again in the 1900 presidential election in a campaign focused on imperialism, protectionism and free silver. His legacy was suddenly cut short when he was shot on September 6, 1901 by Leon Czolgosz, a second-generation Polish-American with anarchist leanings. McKinley died eight days later and was succeeded by his Vice President Theodore Roosevelt. As an innovator of American interventionism and pro-business sentiment, McKinley's presidency is generally considered above average, though his highly positive public perception was soon overshadowed by Roosevelt.

William McKinley 1896 presidential campaign

In 1896, William McKinley was elected President of the United States. McKinley, a Republican and former Governor of Ohio, defeated the joint Democratic and Populist nominee, William Jennings Bryan, as well as minor-party candidates. McKinley's decisive victory in what is sometimes seen as a realigning election ended a period of close presidential contests, and ushered in an era of dominance for the Republican Party.

McKinley was born in 1843 in Niles, Ohio. After service as an Army officer in the Civil War, he became a lawyer and settled in Canton, Ohio. In 1876 he was elected to Congress, and he remained there most of the time until 1890, when he was defeated for re-election in a gerrymandered district. By this time he was considered a likely presidential candidate, especially after being elected governor in 1891 and 1893. McKinley had incautiously co-signed the loans of a friend, and demands for repayment were made on him when his friend went bankrupt in the Panic of 1893. Personal insolvency would have removed McKinley as a factor in the 1896 campaign, but he was rescued from this by businessmen who supported him, led by his friend and political manager, Mark Hanna. With that obstacle removed, Hanna built McKinley's campaign organization through 1895 and 1896. McKinley refused to deal with the eastern bosses such as Thomas Platt and Matthew Quay, and they tried to block his nomination by encouraging state favorite son candidates to run and prevent McKinley from getting a majority of delegate votes at the Republican National Convention, which might force him to make deals on political patronage. Their efforts were in vain, as the large, efficient McKinley organization swept him to a first ballot victory at the convention, with New Jersey's Garret Hobart as his running mate.

McKinley was a noted protectionist, and was confident of winning an election fought on that question. But it was free silver that became the issue of the day, with Bryan capturing the Democratic nomination as a foe of the gold standard. Hanna raised millions for a campaign of education with trainloads of pamphlets to convince the voters that free silver would be harmful, and once that had its effect, even more were printed on protectionism. McKinley stayed at home in Canton, running a front porch campaign and reaching millions through newspaper coverage of the speeches he gave to organized groups of people. This contrasted with Bryan, who toured the nation by rail in his campaign. Supported by the well-to-do, urban dwellers, and prosperous farmers, McKinley won a majority of the popular vote and an easy victory in the Electoral College. McKinley's systemized approach to gaining the presidency laid the groundwork for modern campaigns, and he forged an electoral coalition that would keep the Republicans in power most of the time until 1932.

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