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1888 Democratic Convention - History

1888 Democratic Convention - History

Exposition Building St. Louis, Missouri

June 5 to 7, 1888

Nominated: Grover Cleveland, of New Hampshire for President

Nominated: Allan G Thurman, of Ohio for Vice President

For the first time since 1840 a Presidential candidate was nominated by unanimous acclamation. Mrs E. A. Merriwether of St Louis gave a speech at the convention in support of woman's suffrage.


The Prohibition state convention met on June 26 at the Alhambra Rink in Syracuse, New York. Frank E. Baldwin, of Chemung County, was temporary chairman until the choice of W. Martin Jones as president. [1] The convention re-assembled on June 27. W. Martin Jones was nominated after the second ballot (first ballot: W. Jennings Demorest 398, Benson J. Lossing 389, Jones 249, Guy C. Humphreys 26 second ballot: Lossing 466, Jones 417, Demorest 178). George Powell for lieutenant governor and Charles W. Stevens, of Steuben County, for the Court of Appeals, were nominated by acclamation. [2]

The Republican state convention met on August 28 at the Skating Rink in Saratoga, New York. Benjamin F. Tracy was temporary chairman until the choice of Gen. George S. Batcheller [3] as president. Warner Miller was nominated for governor by acclamation. Stephen V. R. Cruger was nominated for lieutenant governor on the first ballot (vote: Cruger 409, John B. Weber 180, Cornelius R. Parsons 72, Norman M. Allen 32). William Rumsey was nominated for the Court of Appeals by acclamation. [4]

The Democratic state convention met on September 12 at Buffalo, New York. George Raines was temporary chairman until the choice of D. Cady Herrick as president. The incumbents, Governor David B. Hill, Lieutenant Governor Edward F. Jones and Judge John Clinton Gray, [5] were re-nominated by acclamation. [6]

The United Labor state convention met on September 20. The convention endorsed, with a vote of 124 to 103, the Republican candidate for governor, Warner Miller, because his party was "committed to ballot reform." [7] Then the convention voted 131 to 67 to nominate a separate ticket, and John H. Blakeney [8] was nominated for Lieutenant Governor and Lawrence J. McParlin for the Court of Appeals. [9]

The Socialist Labor state convention met on October 21 at the Labor Lyceum in New York City. J. Edward Hall was nominated for governor, Christian Pattberg, of Brooklyn for lieutenant governor, and Dr. Frank Gereau, of New York City for Judge of the Court of Appeals. [10]


1888 Straight Democratic Convention | Lurker's Alternate Elections

While most Democrats have endorsed James A. Garfield, the Liberal candidate, for president, there are still some that have refused to endorse him due to his actions benefiting black people. They are running their own presidential ticket, known as the 'Straight Democratic' ticket.

Thomas Francis Bayard: 60 year old Senator Thomas F. Bayard of Delaware entered the Senate at the young age of 40. He opposes Reconstruction and Civil Rights for black people but also supported the Gold Standard. When Benjamin Bristow, was in office, Bayard and Bristow were known to clash often. However, Bayard is known to have spoken in favor of secession in 1856, making him disliked in the north.

Samuel Jackson Randall: Samuel J. Randall is a Representative from Pennsylvania. He started his career in politics during the Civil War, when he supported the Union's war effort. After the war, he opposed civil rights. However, he only became famous when he lead a 16 hour filibuster to try to stop the Wade-Davis Bill from passing. Randall supports both the gold standard and the Greenback, and wants the government to start selling bonds directly to the public, instead of large banks. Randall also supports high tariffs, which might be unpalatable to the Democratic Party as a whole.

John Henninger Reagan: During the Civil War, John H. Reagan was a high ranking Confederate officer and defender of slavery. Luckily, he managed to escape execution and only got a short prison sentence. Now, he is serving as a Representative from Texas.

Richard Coke: Another Texan, Richard Coke started his career as a District Judge, where he, among other was fired for being an "impediment to Reconstruction." After being fired, he was able to build a Democratic coalition in Texas that is in charge of Texas to this day, with Coke leading as a Senator.


Vice Presidential nomination [ edit ]

Vice Presidential candidates [ edit ]

U.S. Commissioner of Pensions John C. Black of Illinois

After Cleveland was re-nominated, Democrats had to choose a replacement for Thomas A. Hendricks, who had died in office on November 25, 1885. Hendricks had run unsuccessfully as the Democratic nominee for vice-president in 1876, but had won the office when he ran again with Cleveland in 1884.

Three names were placed in nomination: Allen G. Thurman, Isaac P. Gray, and John C. Black. Former Senator Thurman of Ohio was nominated for vice-president over Indiana Governor Gray, his nearest rival, and John C. Black, who trailed behind. Gray lost the nomination to Thurman primarily because his enemies brought up his actions while a Republican. ΐ]


1888 Democratic Platform

The Democratic party of the United States, in National Convention assembled, renews the pledge of its fidelity to Democratic faith and reaffirms the platform adopted by its representatives in the Convention of 1884, and indorses the views expressed by President Cleveland in his last annual message to Congress as the correct interpretation of that platform upon the question of Tariff reduction and also indorses the efforts of our Democratic Representatives in Congress to secure a reduction of excessive taxation.

Chief among its principles of party faith are the maintenance of an indissoluble Union of free and indestructible States, now about to enter upon its second century of unexampled progress and renown devotion to a plan of government regulated by a written Constitution, strictly specifying every granted power and expressly reserving to the States or people the entire ungranted residue of power the encouragement of a jealous popular vigilance directed to all who have been chosen for brief terms to enact and execute the laws, and are charged with the duty of preserving peace, insuring equality and establishing justice.

The Democratic party welcomes an exacting scrutiny of the administration of the Executive power which four years ago was committed to its trust in the selection of Grover Cleveland as President of the United States and it challenges the most searching inquiry concerning its fidelity and devotion to the pledges which then invited the suffrages of the people.

During a most critical period of our financial affairs, resulting from over taxation, the anomalous condition of our currency, and a public debt unmatured, it has by the adoption of a wise and conservative course, not only averted disaster, but greatly promoted the prosperity of the people.

It has reversed the improvident and unwise policy of the Republican party touching the public domain, and has reclaimed from corporations and syndicates, alien and domestic, and restored to the people, nearly one hundred millions of acres of valuable land to be sacredly held as homesteads for our citizens.

While carefully guarding the interests of the taxpayers and conforming strictly to the principles of justice and equity, it has paid out more for pensions and bounties to the soldiers and sailors of the Republic than was ever paid before during an equal period.

By intelligent management and a judicious and economical expenditure of the public money it has set on foot the reconstruction of the American Navy upon a system which forbids the recurrence of scandal and insures successful results.

It has adopted and consistently pursued a firm and prudent foreign policy, preserving peace with all nations while scrupulously maintaining all the rights and interests of our Government and people at home and abroad.

The exclusion from our shores of Chinese laborers has been effectually secured under the provisions of a treaty, the operation of which has been postponed by the action of a Republican majority in the Senate.

Honest reform in the Civil Service has been inaugurated and maintained by President Cleveland, and he has brought the public service to the highest standard of efficiency, not only by rule and precept, but by the example of his own untiring and unselfish administration of public affairs.

In every branch and department of the Government under Democratic control, the rights and welfare of all the people have been guarded and defended every public interest has been protected, and the equality of all our citizens before the law, without regard to race or section, has been steadfastly maintained.

Upon its record, thus exhibited, and upon the pledge of a continuance to the people of these benefits of good government, the National Democracy invokes a renewal of popular trust by the reelection of a Chief Magistrate who has been faithful, able and prudent.

They invoke in addition to that trust, the transfer also to the Democracy of the entire legislative power.

The Republican party, controlling the Senate and resisting in both Houses of Congress a reformation of unjust and unequal tax laws, which have outlasted the necessities of war and are now undermining the abundance of a long peace, deny to the people equality before the law and the fairness and the justice which are their right.

Thus the cry of American labor for a better share in the rewards of industry is stifled with false pretenses, enterprise is fettered and bound down to home markets capital is discouraged with doubt, and unequal, unjust laws can neither be properly amended nor repealed.

The Democratic party will continue, with all the power confided to it, the struggle to reform these laws in accordance with the pledges of its last platform indorsed at the ballot-box by the suffrages of the people.

Of all the industrious freemen of our land, an immense majority, including every tiller of the soil, gain no advantage from excessive tax laws but the price of nearly everything they buy is increased by the favoritism of an unequal system of tax legislation.

All unnecessary taxation is unjust taxation.

It is repugnant to the creed of Democracy, that by such taxation the costs of the necessaries of life should be unjustifiably increased to all our people.

Judged by Democratic principles, the interests of the people are betrayed, when, by unnecessary taxation, trusts and combinations are permitted and fostered, which, while unduly enriching the few that combine, rob the body of our citizens by depriving them of the benefits of natural competition. Every Democratic rule of governmental action is violated when through unnecessary taxation a vast sum of money, far beyond the needs of an economical administration, is drawn from the people and the channels of trade, and accumulated as a demoralizing surplus in the National Treasury.

The money now lying idle in the Federal Treasury, resulting from superfluous taxation amounts to more than $125,000,000, and the surplus collected is reaching the sum of more than $60,000,000 annually.

Debauched by this immense temptation the remedy of the Republican party is to meet and exhaust by extravagant appropriations and expenses, whether constitutional or not, the accumulation of extravagant taxation.

The Democratic remedy is to enforce frugality in public expense and abolish needless taxation.

Our established domestic industries and enterprises should not, and need not, be endangered by a reduction and correction of the burdens of taxation. On the contrary, a fair and careful revision of our tax laws, with due allowance for the difference between the wages of American and foreign labor, must promote and encourage every branch of such industries and enterprises by giving them assurance of an extended market and steady and continuous operations.

In the interest of American labor, which should in no event be neglected, the revision of our tax laws contemplated by the Democratic party would promote the advantage of such labor by cheapening the cost of necessaries of life in the home of every workingman and at the same time securing to him steady and remunerative employment.

Upon this great issue of tariff reform, so closely concerning every phase of our national life, and upon every question involved in the problem of good government, the Democratic party submits its principles and professions to the intelligent suffrages of the American people.

Resolution Presented by Mr. Scott, of Pennsylvania:

Resolved, That this convention hereby indorses and recommends the early passage of the bill for the reduction of the revenue now pending in the House of Representatives.

Resolution Presented by Mr. Lehmann, of Iowa:

Resolved, That a just and liberal policy should be pursued in reference to the Territories that the right of self-government is inherent in the people and guaranteed under the Constitution that the Territories of Washington, Dakota, Montana and New Mexico are, by virtue of population and development, entitled to admission into the Union as States, and we unqualifiedly condemn the course of the Republican party in refusing Statehood and self-government to their people.

Resolution Presented by ex-Governor Leon Abbett, of New Jersey:

Resolved, That we express our cordial sympathy with the struggling people of all nations in their effort to secure for themselves the inestimable blessings of self-government and civil and religious liberty. And we especially declare our sympathy with the efforts of those noble patriots who, led by Gladstone and Parnell, have conducted their grand and peaceful contest for home rule in Ireland.


Attacking Candidates' Wives Has A Long, Ugly History

Another candidate’s wife is fat and dumb, while another is a traitor.

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If you think the Republican primary is bad now that they’re attacking each others’ wives, it’s been much worse. It makes Donald Trump and Ted Cruz look like pikers.

While Cruz’s camp is claiming Trump’s wife Melania is unfit to be First Lady because she posted nude, Trump’s side is calling Heidi Cruz just plain ugly. But a glimpse into presidential history shows how bad the slings and arrows at candidates’ spouses can be, the New York Post is reporting.

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During the 1808 campaign, the Federalist candidate, Charles C. Pickney “circulated the tale that the Democratic-Republican candidate James Madison had made wife Dolley Madison sexually available to the widowed incumbent President Thomas Jefferson for his endorsement, turning her into, well, a political whore,” National First Ladies Library Historian Carl Anthony writes.

In 1828, it got really bad, when Andrew Jackson’s wife, Rachel, was accused of bigamy after it was discovered she didn’t officially divorce her first husband before marrying Jackson.

The press took sides too, and also attacked Rachel Jackson.

“She was criticized for being fat and uneducated,” says “America’s First Ladies” author Betty Caroli. “One cartoon showed her being laced into a girdle that was too small.”

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Before the Civil War, presidential candidates’ wives and First Ladies rarely were seen in public. But that changed with Mary Todd Lincoln.

Mary Todd Lincoln became a particularly polarizing figure due to her Southern roots. She was from slave-holding Kentucky, and her family fought for the Confederacy, leading those above the Mason-Dixon to question her loyalty and those below to call her a traitor.

“When her half-sister’s husband was killed [fighting for the South], she actually draped the White House in black bunting,” O’Brien says. “Think about that. What strange times.”

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Mary also was criticized for lavish spending, which did not sit well with the constituency during a time of war. She spent a fortune redecorating the White House and drove herself into severe debt buying expensive clothes. During one four-month period, she reportedly bought 400 pairs of gloves.

Frances Cleveland, who married Grover Cleveland while he was president, was accused of committing adultery after she was seen at a theater with another man. There was also a whisper campaign that President Cleveland beat her.

The negative press got so bad that Frances was forced to issue a public denial — the first time in history a president’s wife addressed rumors of her private life, according to Anthony.

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Grover’s campaign also printed a pamphlet for the 1888 Democratic convention defending Frances’ reputation.

In 1896, there were rumors that William McKinley’s wife, Ida, was insane. She would be prone to seizures and if it happened in public, President McKinley would put a handkerchief over her head to conceal the seizure and calm her down. In truth she had epilepsy.

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But in 1920, a standoff was declared when William Harding faced off against James Cox. Cox’s campaign considered slamming the Republican candidate’s wife, Florence, for being a divorcee and Harding’s campaign thought about going after Cox’s wife for adultery.

Both campaigns decided to hold their guns.

In a letter, Cox’s vice-presidential candidate Franklin Roosevelt revealed that the situation had ended in a “Mexican standoff,” with both sides agreeing not to publicly reveal the potentially hurtful information, according to Anthony.

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But perhaps the most target-prone presidential candidate’s spouse is on the Democratic side this year. With Bill Clinton, there are more than enough scandals and infidelities to use as campaign fodder.

The difference is: He’ll deserve every bit of it.


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Contents

Stephen M. White served as temporary chairman and Patrick A. Collins served as the convention's permanent president. [1]

Presidential Candidates

President Cleveland was renominated by acclamation. An event few could directly remember, as the last time such a thing happened was forty years previous. Presidents Franklin Pierce and Andrew Johnson lost the nomination in 1852 and 1868 respectively, and Presidents James K. Polk and James Buchanan refused to run for a second term.

Vice presidential nomination

After Cleveland was renominated, Democrats had to choose a replacement for Thomas A. Hendricks. Hendricks ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic nominee for vice-president in 1876, but won the office when he ran again with Cleveland in 1884. Hendricks served as vice-president for only eight months before he died in office on November 25, 1885.

Candidates for Vice President:

U.S. Commissioner of Pensions John C. Black of Illinois

Former Senator Allen G. Thurman of Ohio was nominated for vice-president over Isaac P. Gray, his nearest rival, and John C. Black, who trailed behind. Gray lost the nomination to Thurman primarily because his enemies brought up his actions while a Republican. [2]

Vice Presidential Ballot
1st Acclamation
Allen G. Thurman 684 822
Isaac P. Gray 101
John C. Black 36
Blank 1

The Democratic platform largely confined itself to a defense of the Cleveland administration, supporting reduction in the tariff and taxes generally as well as statehood for the western territories.


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Election results

The election focused on the swing states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Harrison's home state of Indiana. [11] Harrison and Cleveland split these four states, with Harrison winning by means of notoriously fraudulent balloting in New York and Indiana. [12]

1888 marked the third election in U.S. history in which the winning candidate received fewer popular votes than the runner-up. Grover Cleveland defeated Benjamin Harrison in the popular vote by slightly more than 90,000 votes (0.8%). Harrison, however, won the Electoral College (United States) by a 233-168 margin, largely by virtue of his 1.09% percent win in Cleveland's home state of New York.

Had Cleveland won his home state, he would have won the electoral vote by an electoral count of 204-197 (201 electoral votes were needed for victory in 1888). Instead, Cleveland became the third of only four men to win the popular vote but lose their respective presidential elections (Andrew Jackson in 1824, Samuel J. Tilden in 1876, and Al Gore in 2000).

Four states returned results where the winner won by less than 1 percent of the popular vote. Cleveland earned 24 of his electoral votes from states he won by less than 1 percent: Connecticut, Virginia, and West Virginia. Harrison earned 15 of his electoral votes from a state he won by less than 1 percent: Indiana. Harrison won New York (36 electoral votes) by a margin of 1.09%. Despite the narrow margins in several states, only two states switched sides in comparison to Cleveland's first presidential election (New York and Indiana).

Of the 2,450 counties/independent cities making returns, Cleveland won in 1,290 (52.65%) while Harrison carried 1,157 (47.22%). Two counties (0.08%) recorded a Streeter plurality while one county (0.04%) in California split evenly between Cleveland and Harrison.

Upon leaving the White House at the end of her husband's first term, First Lady Frances Cleveland is reported to have told the White House staff to take care of the building since the Clevelands would be returning in four years. She proved correct, becoming the only First Lady to preside at two nonconsecutive administrations.

Presidential candidate Party Home state Popular vote Electoral
vote
Running mate
Count Pct Vice-presidential candidate Home state Elect. vote
Benjamin Harrison Republican Indiana 5,443,892 47.80% 233 Levi P. Morton New York 233
Grover Cleveland (Incumbent) Democratic New York 5,534,488 48.63% 168 Allen G. Thurman Ohio 168
Clinton B. Fisk Prohibition New Jersey 249,819 2.20% 0 John A. Brooks Missouri 0
Alson Streeter Union Labor Illinois 146,602 1.31% 0 Charles E. Cunningham Arkansas 0
Robert Hall Cowdrey United Labor Illinois 2,818 0.02% 0 William H.T. Wakefield Kansas 0
James Langdon Curtis American Party New York 1,612 0.01% 0 Peter D. Wigginton California 0
Belva Ann Lockwood National Equal Rights Washington, D.C. 0 0.00% 0 Alfred H. Love Pennsylvania 0
Other 4,110 0.04% Other
Total 11,383,341 100% 401 401
Needed to win 201 201

Source (Popular Vote): Leip, David. "1888 Presidential Election Results". Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections . Retrieved July 27, 2005 . <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Source (Electoral Vote): "Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996". National Archives and Records Administration . Retrieved July 31, 2005 . <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Results by county, shaded according to winning candidate's percentage of the vote

Results by state

Source: Data from Walter Dean Burnham, Presidential ballots, 1836-1892 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1955) pp 247-57. [13]


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