1896 United States presidential election

United States presidential election, 1896

← 1892November 3, 18961900 →

All 447 electoral votes of the Electoral College
224 electoral votes needed to win
Turnout79.3%[1] Increase 4.6 pp
 William McKinley by Courtney Art Studio, 1896.jpgWilliam Jennings Bryan 2.jpg
NomineeWilliam McKinleyWilliam Jennings Bryan
AlliancePeople's, Silver
Home stateOhioNebraska
Running mateGarret HobartArthur Sewall (Democratic, Silver)
Thomas E. Watson (Populist)
Electoral vote271176
States carried2322
Popular vote7,111,6076,509,052

1896 United States presidential election in California1896 United States presidential election in Oregon1896 United States presidential election in Washington (state)1896 United States presidential election in Idaho1896 United States presidential election in Nevada1896 United States presidential election in Utah1896 United States presidential election in Montana1896 United States presidential election in Wyoming1896 United States presidential election in Colorado1896 United States presidential election in North Dakota1896 United States presidential election in South Dakota1896 United States presidential election in Nebraska1896 United States presidential election in Kansas1896 United States presidential election in Texas1896 United States presidential election in Minnesota1896 United States presidential election in Iowa1896 United States presidential election in Missouri1896 United States presidential election in Arkansas1896 United States presidential election in Louisiana1896 United States presidential election in Wisconsin1896 United States presidential election in Illinois1896 United States presidential election in Michigan1896 United States presidential election in Indiana1896 United States presidential election in Ohio1896 United States presidential election in Kentucky1896 United States presidential election in Tennessee1896 United States presidential election in Mississippi1896 United States presidential election in Alabama1896 United States presidential election in Georgia1896 United States presidential election in Florida1896 United States presidential election in South Carolina1896 United States presidential election in North Carolina1896 United States presidential election in Virginia1896 United States presidential election in West Virginia1896 United States presidential election in Maryland1896 United States presidential election in Delaware1896 United States presidential election in Pennsylvania1896 United States presidential election in New Jersey1896 United States presidential election in New York1896 United States presidential election in Connecticut1896 United States presidential election in Rhode Island1896 United States presidential election in Maryland1896 United States presidential election in Vermont1896 United States presidential election in New Hampshire1896 United States presidential election in Maine1896 United States presidential election in Massachusetts1896 United States presidential election in Maryland1896 United States presidential election in Delaware1896 United States presidential election in New Jersey1896 United States presidential election in Connecticut1896 United States presidential election in Rhode Island1896 United States presidential election in Massachusetts1896 United States presidential election in Vermont1896 United States presidential election in New HampshireElectoralCollege1896.svg
About this image
Presidential election results map. Red denotes those won by McKinley/Hobart, blue denotes states won by Bryan/Sewall and the Populist ticket of Bryan/Watson. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.

President before election

Grover Cleveland

Elected President

William McKinley

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.[2]

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.


Republican Party nomination

McKinley/Hobart campaign poster
Republican Party (United States)
Republican Party Ticket, 1896
William McKinley Garret Hobart
for President for Vice President
Governor of Ohio
President of the
New Jersey Senate


Other Candidates

Thomas B. Reed Matthew S. Quay Levi P. Morton William B. Allison Charles F. Manderson Shelby M. Cullom
William Boyd Allison.jpg
Charles Frederick Manderson.jpg
Picture of Shelby M. Cullom.jpg
Speaker of the House of Representatives
from Maine
U.S. Senator
from Pennsylvania
Governor of New York
U.S. Senator
from Iowa
U.S. Senator
from Nebraska
U.S. Senator
from Illinois

At their convention in St. Louis, Missouri, held between June 16 and 18, 1896, the Republicans nominated William McKinley for president and New Jersey's Garret Hobart for vice-president. McKinley had just vacated the office of Governor of Ohio. Both candidates were easily nominated on first ballots.

McKinley's campaign manager, a wealthy and talented Ohio businessman named Mark Hanna, visited the leaders of large corporations and major, influential banks after the Republican Convention to raise funds for the campaign. Given that many businessmen and bankers were terrified of Bryan's populist rhetoric and demand for the end of the gold standard, Hanna had few problems in raising record amounts of money. As a result, Hanna raised a staggering $3.5 million for the campaign and outspent the Democrats by an estimated 5-to-1 margin. This sum would be equivalent to approximately $85 million, according to the inflation calculator of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Major McKinley was the last veteran of the American Civil War to be nominated for president by either major party.

Democratic Party nomination

Bryan's famous "cross of gold" speech gave him the presidential nomination and swung the party to the silver cause
Democratic Party (United States)
Democratic Party Ticket, 1896
William Jennings Bryan Arthur Sewall
for President for Vice President
Former U.S. Representative
for Nebraska's 1st
Director of the
Maine Central Railroad

Other Candidates

Candidates in this section are sorted by their highest vote count on the nominating ballots, then by reverse date of withdrawal
Richard P. Bland Robert E. Pattison Joseph Blackburn Horace Boies John R. McLean
John Roll McLean.jpg
U.S. Representative
from Missouri
Governor of Pennsylvania
United States Senator
from Kentucky
Governor of Iowa
Publisher of The Cincinnati Enquirer
from Ohio
291 votes 100 votes 82 votes 67 votes 54 votes
Claude Matthews Benjamin Tillman Sylvester Pennoyer Henry M. Teller William Russell
Senator Henry M Teller.jpg
Governor of Indiana
United States Senator
from South Carolina
Governor of Oregon
United States Senator
from Colorado
Governor of Massachusetts
37 votes 17 votes 8 votes 8 votes W: June 20[3]
2 votes
William R. Morrison John W. Daniel Stephen M. White
Portrait of John W. Daniel.jpg
U.S. Representative
from Illinois
United States Senator
from Virginia
United States Senator
from California
W: June 19[4] DTBN DTBN

One month after McKinley's nomination, supporters of silver-backed currency took control of the Democratic convention held in Chicago on July 7–11. Most of the Southern and Western delegates were committed to implementing the "free silver" ideas of the Populist Party. The convention repudiated President Cleveland's gold standard policies and then repudiated Cleveland himself. This, however, left the convention wide open: there was no obvious successor to Cleveland. A two-thirds vote was required for the nomination and the silverites had it in spite of the extreme regional polarization of the delegates. In a test vote on an anti-silver measure, the Eastern states (from Maryland to Maine), with 28% of the delegates, voted 96% in favor. The other delegates voted 91% against, so the silverites could count on a majority of 67% of the delegates.[5]

An attorney, former congressman, and unsuccessful Senate candidate named William Jennings Bryan filled the void. A superb orator, Bryan hailed from Nebraska and spoke for the farmers who were suffering from the economic depression following the Panic of 1893. At the convention, Bryan delivered what has been considered one of the greatest political speeches in American history, the "Cross of Gold" Speech. Bryan presented a passionate defense of farmers and factory workers struggling to survive the economic depression, and he attacked big-city business owners and leaders as the cause of much of their suffering. He called for reform of the monetary system, an end to the gold standard, and government relief efforts for farmers and others hurt by the economic depression. Bryan's speech was so dramatic that after he had finished many delegates carried him on their shoulders around the convention hall.

The following day, eight names were placed in nomination: Richard "Silver Dick" Bland, William J. Bryan, Claude Matthews, Horace Boies, Joseph Blackburn, John R. McLean, Robert E. Pattison, and Sylvester Pennoyer. Bryan's electrifying speech proved decisive as the party's presidential nomination was bestowed on him by the convention delegates. Bryan defeated his closest competitor, former Congressman Bland, by a 3-to-1 margin. Arthur Sewall, a wealthy shipbuilder from Maine, was chosen as the vice-presidential nominee. It was felt that Sewall's wealth might encourage him to help pay some campaign expenses. At just 36 years of age, Bryan was only a year older than the minimum age required by the Constitution to be president. Bryan remains the youngest person ever nominated by a major party for president.

Third parties and independents

Prohibition Party nomination

Prohibition Party ticket, 1896
Joshua Levering Hale Johnson
for President for Vice President
Hale Johnson Button, 2.jpg
Baptist leader and businessman
from Maryland
Former Mayor of
Newton, Illinois
Other candidates
Louis C. Hughes Charles E. Bentley
LC hughes.jpg
C E Bentley.jpg
11th Governor of
the Arizona Territory
Party State Chairman
from Nebraska
W:On First Ballot[6] DTBN

The Prohibition Party found itself going into the convention divided into two factions, each unwilling to give ground or compromise with the other. The "Broad-Gauge" wing, led by Charles Bentley and former Kansas Governor John St. John, demanded the inclusion of planks endorsing the free coinage of silver at 16:1 and of women's suffrage, the former refusing to accept the nomination if such amendments to the party platform were not approved. The "Narrow-Gauge" wing, which were led by Professor Samuel Dickie of Michigan and rallied around the candidacy of Joshua Levering, demanded that the party platform remain exclusively one dedicated to the prohibition of alcohol.[7] It wasn't long into the convention when conflict between the two sides broke out over the nomination of a permanent chairman, with a number of presented candidates for the position withdrawing before Oliver Stewart of Illinois, a "Broad-Gauger", was nominated.[8] A minority report made by St. John that supported the free coinage of silver, government control of railroads and telegraphs, an income tax and referendums was prevented from being tabled giving "Broad-Gaugers" confidence, but a number of those who voted in favor of the report were actually fence-sitters, undecided on how to vote, or were against gagging the report. After the report was brought forward by a majority of 188, "Narrow-Gaugers" campaigned among wavering delegates of the Northeast and Midwest in an effort to convince them of the electoral consequences that would come should the minority report be adopted, that Party gains in States like New York would reverse overnight in the face of free coinage and populism. When St. John's report was brought up to a formal vote the margins had largely reversed, with it being rejected 492 to 310. With the silver delegates still in shock and St. John attempting to move for a reconsideration, a move was made by Illinois "Narrow-Gaugers" to offer as a substitute to both the minority and majority reports a single plank platform centered around Prohibition. A rising vote was taken in lieu of a roll call, with the "Narrow-Gauge" Platform winning the vote and being adopted.

In an attempt to mollify suffragists who were incensed at the lack of a plank endorsing women's suffrage, the plank itself was adopted through a resolution by the Convention by a near unanimous vote. By the time it came to the Party's nomination for President, many of the "Broad-Gaugers" were already openly considering bolting and running their own candidate as it became increasingly apparent that the "Narrow-Gaugers" had brought a majority of the convention under their influence, formal action was deferred until after the nomination for President was made. With Charles Bentley refusing to be nominating under the single-plank platform an attempt was made to nominate the recently retired Governor of the Arizona Territory, Louis Hughes, but as it became apparent that the "Narrow-Gauger" Joshua Levering was set to receive the support of most of the convention delegates, they opted to withdraw Hughes's name. Once Levering's nomination was confirmed without any visible opposition, around 200 of those who were suffragists, silverites or populists bolted the convention, lead by Charles Bentley and John St. John, and would join with the National Reform "Party" to create the National Party. Afterwards the convention nominated with unanimity Hale Johnson of Illinois for the Vice Presidency.[9][6]

National Party nomination

National Party ticket, 1896
Charles E. Bentley James H. Southgate
for President for Vice President
C E Bentley.jpg
Party State Chairman
from Nebraska
Party State Chairman
from North Carolina

Initially known as the "National Reform Party", the convention itself started only a day before the Prohibition National Convention, also being held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Though initially only a gathering of eight or so delegates, it was hoped that any bolters from the Prohibition Party might find their way there and would support the nomination of Representative Joseph C. Sibley for President. A sizable bolt did indeed occur upon the nomination of Joshua Levering by the Prohibition Party to the Presidency, with Charles E. Bentley and former Kansas Governor John St. John leading a walkout of "Broad-Gaugers" from their convention, St. John himself exclaiming that the regular convention had been "...bought up by Wall Street." The two groups would reorganize as the "National Party" and swiftly nominated Charles Bentley for the Presidency, with James Southgate, the State Chairman for the North Carolina Prohibition Party, as his running-mate. The delegates approved the minority report that had been rejected at the Prohibitionist Convention calling for free coinage and greenbacks, government control of railroads and telegraphs, direct election of Senators and the President, and an income tax among others.[10][6][9]

Socialist Labor Party nomination

Socialist Labor Party ticket, 1896
Charles Matchett Matthew Maguire
for President for Vice President
Labor leader
from New York
Alderman in
Paterson, New Jersey
Charles H. Matchett - Im04.JPG

The Socialist Labor Convention was held in New York City on July 9, 1896. The convention nominated Charles Matchett of New York and Matthew Maguire of New Jersey. Its platform favored reduction in hours of labor; possession by the federal government of mines, railroads, canals, telegraphs, and telephones; possession by municipalities of water-works, gas-works, and electric plants; the issue of money by the federal government alone; the employment of the unemployed by the public authorities; abolition of the veto power; abolition of the United States Senate; women's suffrage; and uniform criminal law throughout the Union.[11]

Peoples' Party nomination

Peoples' Party Ticket, 1896
William Jennings Bryan Thomas E. Watson
for President for Vice President
Bryan 1896 left.png
Younger Tom Watson.gif
Former U.S. Representative
for Nebraska's 1st
Former U.S. Representative
for Georgia's 10th
Other Candidates
Candidates in this section are sorted by their highest vote count on the nominating ballots
Seymour F. Norton Eugene V. Debs Jacob S. Coxey
Eugene V. Debs, bw photo portrait, 1897.jpg
Jacob S. Coxey, Sr. (The Coxey Plan).png
Writer and Philanthropist
from Illinois
Trade Unionist and Labor leader
from Indiana
Businessman and Political activist
from Ohio
321 votes DTBN
8 votes
1 votes

Of the several third parties active in 1896, by far the most prominent was the People's Party. Formed in 1892, the Populists represented the philosophy of agrarianism (derived from Jeffersonian democracy), which held that farming was a superior way of life that was being exploited by bankers and middlemen. The Populists attracted cotton farmers in the South and wheat farmers in the West, but very few farmers in the Northeast, South, West, and rural Midwest. In the presidential election of 1892, Populist candidate James B. Weaver carried four states, and in 1894, the Populists scored victories in congressional and state legislature races in a number of Southern and Western states. In the Southern states, including Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas, the wins were obtained by electoral fusion with the Republicans against the dominant Bourbon Democrats, whereas in the rest of the country, fusion, if practiced, was typically undertaken with the Democrats, as in the state of Washington.[12][13] By 1896, some Populists believed that they could replace the Democrats as the main opposition party to the Republicans. However, the Democrats' nomination of Bryan, who supported many Populist goals and ideas, placed the party in a dilemma. Torn between choosing their own presidential candidate or supporting Bryan, the party leadership decided that nominating their own candidate would simply divide the forces of reform and hand the election to the more conservative Republicans. At their national convention in 1896, the Populists chose Bryan as their presidential nominee. However, to demonstrate that they were still independent from the Democrats, the Populists also chose former Georgia Representative Thomas E. Watson as their vice-presidential candidate instead of Arthur Sewall. Bryan eagerly accepted the Populist nomination, but was vague as to whether, if elected, he would choose Watson as his vice-president instead of Sewall. With this election, the Populists began to be absorbed into the Democratic Party; within a few elections the party would disappear completely. The 1896 election was particularly detrimental to the Populist Party in the South; the party divided itself between members who favored cooperation with the Democrats to achieve reform at the national level and members who favored cooperation with the Republicans to achieve reform at a state level.

As a result of the double nomination, both the Bryan-Sewall Democratic ticket and the Bryan-Watson Populist ticket appeared on the ballot in many states. Although the Populist ticket did not win the popular vote in any state, 27 electors for Bryan cast their vice-presidential vote for Watson instead of Sewall. (The votes came from the following states: Arkansas 3, Louisiana 4, Missouri 4, Montana 1, Nebraska 4, North Carolina 5, South Dakota 2, Utah 1, Washington 2, Wyoming 1.)

Presidential Ballot Vice Presidential Ballot
William Jennings Bryan 1,042 Thomas E. Watson 469.5
Seymour F. Norton 321 Arthur Sewall 257.5
Eugene V. Debs 8
Ignatius L. Donnelly 3
Jacob S. Coxey 1

Silver Party nomination

Silver Party ticket, 1896
William Jennings Bryan Arthur Sewall
for President for Vice President
Bryan 1896 left.png
Former U.S. Representative
for Nebraska's 1st
Director of the
Maine Central Railroad

The Silver Party was organized in 1892. Near the beginning of that year, U.S. Senators from silver-producing states (Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, and Montana) began objecting to President Benjamin Harrison's economic policies and advocated the free coinage of silver. Senator Henry Teller notified the Senate that if the two major parties did not back down on their financial policies, the four western states would back a third party. The Portland Morning Oregonian reported on June 27, 1892 that a Silver Party was being organized along those lines.

Nevada silverites called a state convention to be held on June 5, 1892, just days following the close of the Democratic National Convention. The convention noted that neither the Republicans or Democrats addressed the silver concerns of western states and officially organized the "Silver Party of Nevada." Proceeding by itself, the Silver Party swept the state in 1892; James Weaver, the People's Party nominee for President running on the Silver ticket, won 66.8% of the vote. Francis Newlands was elected to the U.S. House with 72.5% of the vote. The Silverites took control of the legislature, assuring the election of William Stewart to the U.S. Senate.

The success of the Nevada silverites spurred their brethren in Colorado to action; the Colorado Silver Party never materialized, however.

In the 1894 midterm elections, the Silver Party remained a Nevada party. It swept all statewide offices, formerly held by Republicans. John Edward Jones was elected Governor with 50% of the vote; Newlands was re-elected with 44%.

Following the Democratic Party debacle in 1894, James Weaver began agitating for the creation of a nationwide Silver Party. He altered the People's Party platform from 1892 and eliminated planks he felt would be divisive for a larger party and began to lobby silver men around the nation. The first major statement by the national Silver Party was an address delivered to the American Bimetallic League, printed in the Emporia Daily Gazette on March 6, 1895. Letterhead for the nascent party promoted U.S. Representative Joseph Sibley of Pennsylvania for President, noting that his endorsement by the Prohibitionists would secure that party's support.

Silver leaders met in Washington DC on January 22 to discuss holding a national convention. They decided to wait until after the conventions of the two major parties in case one of them agreed to the 16:1 coinage demands. Just a few days later, however, party regulars convinced the leaders to change course. On January 29, the leaders issued a call for a national convention to be held in St. Louis on July 22. J.J. Mott, the Silver Party National Chairman, went to great lengths to organize state parties, but his efforts did not produce dramatic results. The Silver State convention in Ohio was attended by just 20 people, even though the president of the Bimetallic League, A.J. Warner, lived there.

Although most Silverites had been pushing the nomination of Senator Teller, the situation changed with the Democratic nomination of William Jennings Bryan. Congressman Newlands was in Chicago as the official Silver Party visitor, and he announced on July 10 that the Silver Party should endorse the Democratic ticket. Chairman Mott, who was in St. Louis making final arrangements for the Silver National Convention, told a reporter five days later "All the Silver Party wants is silver, and the Democratic platform will give us that." I.B. Stevens, a member of the executive committee, told a reporter that the Silver Party "will bring to the support of [Bryan] hundreds of thousands who do not wish to vote a Democratic ticket."

On July 25, both Bryan and Arthur Sewall would be nominated by acclamation.

National Democratic Party nomination

National Democratic Party ticket, 1896
John M. Palmer Simon Bolivar Buckner
for President for Vice President
Reminiscences, or, Four years in the Confederate Army - a history of the experiences of the private soldier in camp, hospital, prison, on the march, and on the battlefield, 1861 to 1865 (1898) (14793579403).jpg
U.S. Senator
from Illinois
Governor of Kentucky
Other candidates
Candidates in this section are sorted by their highest vote count on the nominating ballots, then by reverse date of withdrawal
Edward S. Bragg Henry Watterson James Broadhead Daniel W. Lawler Grover Cleveland
Photograph of Henry Watterson.jpg
James O. Broadhead.jpg
Daniel William Lawler (March 28, 1859 - September 15, 1926) in 1915.jpg
U.S. Ambassador to Mexico
from Wisconsin
U.S. Representative
for Kentucky's 5th
U.S. Representative
for Missouri's 9th
from Minnesota
24th U.S. President
from New York
130.5 votes W:On First Ballot DTBN DTBN DTBN
The National "Gold" Democratic Convention

The pro-gold Democrats reacted to Bryan's nomination with a mixture of anger, desperation, and confusion. A number of pro-gold Bourbon Democrats urged a "bolt" and the formation of a third party. In response, a hastily arranged assembly on July 24 organized the National Democratic Party. A follow-up meeting in August scheduled a nominating convention for September in Indianapolis and issued an appeal to fellow Democrats. In this document, the National Democratic Party portrayed itself as the legitimate heir to Presidents Jefferson, Jackson, and Cleveland.

Delegates from forty-one states gathered at the National Democratic Party's national nominating convention in Indianapolis on September 2. Some delegates planned to nominate Cleveland, but they relented after a telegram arrived stating that he would not accept. Senator William Freeman Vilas from Wisconsin, the main drafter of the National Democratic Party's platform, was a favorite of the delegates. However, Vilas refused to run as the party's sacrificial lamb. The choice instead was John M. Palmer, a 79-year-old former Senator from Illinois.[14] Simon Bolivar Buckner, a 73-year-old former governor of Kentucky, was nominated by acclamation for vice-president. The ticket, symbolic of post-Civil War reconciliation, featured the oldest combined age of the candidates in American history.

Palmer/Buckner campaign button

Despite their advanced ages, Palmer and Buckner embarked on a busy speaking tour, including visits to most major cities in the East. This won them considerable respect from the party faithful, although some found it hard to take the geriatric campaigning seriously. "You would laugh yourself sick could you see old Palmer," wrote lawyer Kenesaw Mountain Landis. "He has actually gotten it into his head he is running for office."[15] The Palmer ticket was considered to be a vehicle to elect McKinley for some Gold Democrats, such as William Collins Whitney and Abram Hewitt, the treasurer of the National Democratic Party, and they received quiet financial support from Mark Hanna. Palmer himself said at a campaign stop that if "this vast crowd casts its vote for William McKinley next Tuesday, I shall charge them with no sin."[16] There was even some cooperation with the Republican Party, especially in finances. The Republicans hoped that Palmer could draw enough Democratic votes from Bryan to tip marginal Midwestern and border states into McKinley's column. In a private letter, Hewitt underscored the "entire harmony of action" between both parties in standing against Bryan.[17]

However, the National Democratic Party was not merely an adjunct to the McKinley campaign. An important goal was to nurture a loyal remnant for future victory. Repeatedly they depicted Bryan's prospective defeat, and a credible showing for Palmer, as paving the way for ultimate recapture of the Democratic Party, and this did indeed happen in 1904.[18]

Presidential ballot
Ballot 1st before shifts ! 1st after shifts
John M. Palmer 757.5 769.5
Edward S. Bragg 130.5 118.5
Other Languages