PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN & ELECTIONS
OVERVIEWS & CHRONOLOGIES: 1900
By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS
Election Year: 1900
Election Day Date: November 6, 1900
- William McKinley (57, Methodist), Theodore Roosevelt (42, Dutch Reformed), Republican 7,228,864 51.64% 292 65.3%
- William Bryan (40, Presbyterian), Adlai Stevenson (65, ), Democratic 6,370,932 45.52% 155 34.7%
- John Woolley (50, ), Henry Metcalf (unknown), Prohibition 210,867 1.51% 0 0.0%
- Eugene Debs (45, ), Job Harriman (39, agnostic- though an ordained priest), Socialist 87,945 0.63% 0 0.0%
- Wharton Barker (54, ), Ignatius Donnelly (69, ), Populist 50,989 0.36% 0 0.0%
- Joseph Maloney (unknown), Valentine Remmel (47,), Socialist Labor 40,943 0.29% 0 0.0%
- Other (+) – – 6,889 0.05% 0 0.0%
Voter Turnout: 73.2%
Central Forums/Campaign Methods for Addressing Voters:
Front-porch campaign, stumping, speeches, newspapers, speakers, pamphlets posters, rallies
Election Law/Campaign Finance Changes:
Incumbent President and Vice President on Election Day:
William McKinley, Garret A. Hobart, Republican 1897-1901
Population: 1900: 76,094,000
GDP: 114 Nominal GDP (billions of dollars): $20.6 Real GDP (billions of 2005 dollars): $422.8 GDP Deflator (index 2005=100%) 4.86 Population (in thousands):
Nominal GDP per capita (current dollars): $270 Real GDP per capita (year 2005 dollars): $5,557
Number of Daily Newspapers: 2,226 (1900)
Average Daily Circulation: 15,102,156 (1900)
Method of Choosing Electors: Popular vote (mostly General Ticket/Winner Take All)
Method of Choosing Nominees: National party convention
- Anti-imperialism; Spanish-American War; Annexation of the Philippines and Puerto Rico
Leading Candidates (Nomination/Primaries):
Republican Party candidate:
- William McKinley, President of the United States from Ohio
Democratic Party candidates:
- George Dewey, Admiral of the Navy (Vermont)
- William Jennings Bryan, Democratic presidential nominee in 1896 (Nebraska)
Main Controversies (Nomination/Primaries):
- Spanish-American War triggers national pride but complexity as the US move into the Philippines triggers an insurgency.
- Anti-imperialism movement builds some momentum as US annexes Philippines and Puerto Rico.
- March 14, 1900 Gold Standard Act – US on Gold Standard, Battle of Standard ends in Republican triumph.
Campaign Innovations (Nomination/Primaries):
Major Personalities (Nomination/Primaries):
Admiral George Dewey; Thomas Platt; Mathew Quay; Theodore Roosevelt;
Turning Points (Nomination/Primaries):
- Republican Party: Vice President Garret A. Hobart died. As a successor, rank and file Republicans liked New York Governor Theodore Roosevelt, famed as a “Rough Rider” in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Mark Hanna and President McKinley disliked Roosevelt. “Boss” Thomas Platt of New York, helped break the logjam, motivated by his desire to get Roosevelt, an anti-machine reformer, out of New York.
- Democratic Party: Considered nominating Admiral George Dewey, a Spanish-American War hero, until he spurned any party affiliation.
- Democrats still divided over currency issues, newly divided over imperialism/expansionism.
Conventions (Dates & Locations):
- Republican National Convention: June 19-21, 1900 Convention Hall; Philadelphia, 1st ballot, William McKinley (Ohio), Theodore Roosevelt (New York)
- Democratic National Convention: July 4-6, 1900 Convention Hall; Kansas City James D. Richardson (Tennessee), 1st ballot, William Jennings Bryan (Nebraska) Adlai E. Stevenson I (Illinois)
Convention Turning Points:
Republican National Convention:
- William McKinley was unopposed for the nomination
- The convention focused on nominating a new Vice Presidential candidate
- McKinley preferred Senator William B. Allison of Iowa, but Allison withdrew from balloting
- As a successor, rank and file Republicans liked New York Governor Theodore Roosevelt, famed as a “Rough Rider” in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Mark Hanna and President McKinley disliked Roosevelt. “Boss” Thomas Platt of New York, helped break the logjam, motivated by his desire to get Roosevelt, an anti-machine reformer, out of New York.
Democratic National Convention:
- William Jennings Bryan was nominated with any opposition
- Bryan decided to allow the party and delegates choose his running-mate as he did in 1896
- Seven candidates vied for the position on the first ballot, two withdrew prior to the vote
- Adlai E. Stevenson was the front-runner after the first ballot. After several delegation switched the votes, he was nominated.
- First appearance of royalty at a political convention, King David Kawananakoa the Hawaiian heir to the throne was a delegate.
Number of Ballots to Choose Nominees:
Republican Party Nomination:
Presidential 1st Ballot
- William McKinley 926
Vice Presidential Ballot
- Theodore Roosevelt 925
- Not voting 1
Democratic Party Nomination:
Presidential 1st ballot
- William Jennings Bryan 936
Vice Presidential 1st Ballot after shifts
- Adlai E. Stevenson 559.5 936
- David B. Hill 200 0
- Charles A. Towne 89.5 0
- Abraham W. Patrick 46 0
- Julian S. Carr 23 0
- John W. Smith 16 0
- Elliott M. Danforth 1 0
- James S. Hogg 1 0
Third Parties Candidates:
- The Populist Party:
- “Fusion” faction (wanted to merge with the Democratic Party and did), Convention Sioux Falls, South Dakota, President, William Jennings Bryan; Vice President, Charles A. Towne for (national chairman of the Silver Republican Party, later withdrew).
- “Middle of the Road” Populists, (Wanted to maintain separate identity as a party) Convention, Cincinnati, President, Wharton Barker and Vice President Ignatius L. Donnelly.
- The “Middle of the Road” faction contested two more presidential elections, but the Populists died out as a serious political force after 1900.
- The Socialist Labor Party divided into two factions (The Social Democratic Party; Socialist Labor Party).
- Social Democratic Party: President, Eugene Debs; Government and ownership of business and utilities.
- Prohibition Party (two factions): last campaign of the National Prohibitionists
- Union Reform Party: President, Seth H. Ellis
- United Christian Party: President, Jonah F.R. Leonard
Convention Keynote Speaker:
- Republican: Senator Edward Wolcott (Colorado)
- Democratic: James D. Richardson (Tennessee)
Nominating Speech Speakers (President):
Party Platform Issues:
- Republican Party: Praised President McKinley’s record: improved business conditions, won Spanish-American War; defended postwar expansionism; established department of commerce; condemned Jim Crow, southern laws that blocked African-Americans voting; raised child labor age limit; constructed a canal in Panama.
- Democratic Party: anti-imperialism platform; denounced colonial policies; condemned post-war expansionism; included silver plank.
General Election Controversies/Issues: Imperialism (Philippines and Puerto Rico); Territorial Expansionism; monetary question (free silver); trusts; Philippine-American War (American troops fighting the insurgency)
Campaign Innovations (General Election):
- Whistle-stop tour: Both William Jennings Bryan and Theodore Roosevelt addressed the masses from the rear platform of the train.
- Intensive Fundraising from businessmen and financiers
Major Personalities (General Election):
“Boss” Thomas Platt, of the New York State Republican Party; Eugene Debs; Elihu Root, Secretary of War; Emilio Aguinaldo, Philippine leader; Mark Hanna;
- Front Porch Campaign: At his Canton, Ohio home McKinley greeted sixteen delegations and 30,000 supporters during the campaign’s peak.
- President McKinley made a two-week, 80-speech Midwestern tour in 1899, before the campaign.
- Stumping: Theodore Roosevelt, McKinley’s running mate, stumped, covering 21,000 miles by train, giving 673 speeches in 24 states to an estimated three million people.
- Mark Hanna moved campaign headquarters to Chicago, to force Bryan to protect his home turf too.
- 2,500,000 pieces of literature flooded Indiana, 3,500,000 in Ohio.
- Stumping/Whistle-stop tour: Bryan traveled by train 18,000 miles to rallies in the Midwest and East, delivering 546 to approximately 2.5 million people.
Turning Points (General Election):
- Democrats: Bryan futilely attacks: “Money, trusts, and imperialism”
- Money/Free Silver: The economy had recovered under the gold standard, the issue seemed resolved.
- Trusts: With prosperity resentment against Wall Street dwindled.
- Anti-Imperialism: The Democrats could not get traction on the issue, partially because Bryan supported the Treaty of Paris (December 10, 1898), that annexed the Philippines and Puerto Rico.
- Bryan oversteps in trying to woo Richard Croker of Tammany Hall, embarrassing himself by proclaiming “I am prepared to say that great is Tammany, and Croker is its prophet.”
- “Second Coming of Bryan” – in his second trip to New York, Bryan stumbles by trying to resurrect the silver issue, but Bryan kept on trying to “stand just where I stood” on silver.
- Republicans: Secretary of War Elihu Root buried until after the election General Arthur MacArthur’s pessimistic report that the Philippine-American War was not subsiding.
Popular Campaign Slogans:
- Republican: William McKinley “Four More Years of the Full Dinner Pail” (“A Full Dinner Pail”); “Let well enough alone”; “advance agent of prosperity”; William McKinley, a Western man with Eastern ideas; and Theodore Roosevelt, an Eastern man with Western characteristics.”
Influential Campaign Appeals or Ads:
Money Spent (Each Campaign/Party/Overall): Hanna assessed corporations, raising $2.5 million. The contest was so easy for Republicans, after the campaign Hanna returned one-fifth of the $250,000 Standard Oil officials donated.
Defining Quotation (Winning Candidate):
- “Four years ago the nation was uneasy because at our very doors an American island was writhing in hideous agony under a worse than medieval despotism. We had our Armenia at our threshold. The situation in Cuba had become such that we could no longer stand quiet and retain one shred of self-respect…. We drew the sword and waged the most righteous and brilliantly successful foreign war that this generation has seen.” Theodore Roosevelt
- “I am as strong as a bull moose and you can use me to the limit, taking heed of but one thing and that is my throat.” Theodore Roosevelt
Defining Quotation (Losing Candidate):
- “I would not exchange the glory of this Republic for the glory of all the empires that have risen and fallen since time began.” William Jennings Bryan
- “Don’t any of you realize, that there’s only one life between that madman and the Presidency?” Mark Hanna about nominating Theodore Roosevelt as the Republican Party’s Vice Presidential candidate
- “Your duty to the country is to live for four years from next March.” Mark Hanna to William McKinley
- “Mr. Bryan had rather be wrong than be President.” Former Speaker of the House Thomas Reed
- “Hundreds of thousands of our prominent Democrats are convinced that Bryan’s nomination means defeat, and yet they are silent . . . . What a sad condition!” Grover Cleveland“
- I do not know on what ticket I will be nominated, I have no politics. I am the people’s candidate.” Admiral George Dewey
Significant books about the campaign:
- Coletta, Paolo E. William Jennings Bryan. 1. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1964.
- Gould, Lewis L. The Presidency of William McKinley. Lawrence: Regents Press of Kansas, 1980.
Lasting Legacy of Campaign:
- Rematch of 1896 but not as exciting – confirmation of Republican political domination.
- Rise of Theodore Roosevelt.
- Voter Turnout starts to drop.
- July 24, 1897: Dingley Tariff Law raises duties to approximately 57 percent.”
- September 10, 1897: Deputy sheriffs in Lattimer, Pennsylvania kill twenty striking coal miners. Coal miners in Ohio, West Virginia, and the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania strike in support. Eight-hour day for Pennsylvania workers.
- February 9, 1898: William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal publishes De Lôme Letter, an insulting letter to President McKinley written by Spanish minister to the United States Enrique De Lôme.
- February 15, 1898: USS Maine explodes in Havana, Cuba harbor, and 266 Americans are killed. Suspicion mounts that it is an attack by the Spanish, leading the United States closer to war against Spain, and aiding Cuban Independence.
- March 17, 1898: U.S. Navy concludes Maine explosion is caused by external factors.
- March 22, 1898: Spanish Navy releases reports that contradicts American conclusions, claims Maine explosion caused by internal factors.
- April 11, 1898: President McKinley requests from Congress to “use armed force” in Cuba.
- April 19, 1898: Teller Amendment; Joint Congressional resolution authorizes President McKinley to intervene in Cuba. Spain severs diplomatic relations with the Unites States.
- April 23, 1898: “Spain declares war on the United States.”
- April 25, 1898: US Congress declares war on Spain. Spanish-American War; triggers national pride.
- July 4, 1898: United Christian Party forms.
- July 7, 1898: “President McKinley signs a joint congressional resolution providing for the annexation of Hawaii.”
- July 17, 1898: “Santiago de Cuba surrenders, along with 24,000 Spanish troops, to American General William Shafter.”
- July 25, 1898: “American forces invade Puerto Rico, encountering little” resistance.
- August 12, 1898: “Spain and the United States sign an armistice in which Spain agrees to grant Cuba its independence and cede Puerto Rico and Guam to the United States.”
- August 14, 1898: “Spanish forces in the Philippines surrender to the United States.”
- November 8, 1898: Mid-term Elections. Republicans gain seats in the Senate, 53-26-8 lead. They lose seats in the House 185-163-9.
- November 25, 1898: Anti-Imperialist League’s first communication to President McKinley is delivered. The league forms in 1898 in opposition to annexation of the Philippines from Spain. George S. Boutwell of Massachusetts serves until 1905 as the first President.
- December 10, 1898: Treaty of Paris; Annexation of the Philippines and Puerto Rico
- January 1, 1899: “United States takes official control of Cuba”
- February 4, 1899: Philippine-American War begins, the Unites States’ move into the Philippines, which triggers an insurgency. Anti-imperialism movement builds some momentum as Unites States annexes Philippines and Puerto Rico. “Philippine guerrillas, led by Emilio Aguinaldo, attack U.S. forces in Manila, beginning the Philippine Insurrection. The initial skirmishes, in which 57 American fighters are killed and 215 are wounded, last several days.”
- February 6, 1899: Senate ratifies the peace treaty with Spain, 57 to 27. (“The United States acquires Puerto Rico and Guam, and assumes the temporary administration of Cuba. While the United States pays Spain $20 million for certain Filipino holdings, the sum is interpreted by some as payment for the outright purchase of the Philippines.”)
- February 14, 1899: “Congress authorizes voting machines for federal elections, subject to the request of individual states.”
- March 1, 1899: The Union Reform Party forms in Cincinnati, Ohio.
- November 21, 1899: Vice President Garret A. Hobart dies of heart problems.
- 1899: President McKinley makes a two-week, 80-speech Midwestern tour before the campaign
- March 7, 1900: President McKinley signs the Gold Standard Act.
- March 14, 1900: Gold Standard Act – US on Gold Standard, Battle of Standard ends in Republican triumph.
- March 7, 1900: Social Democratic Party National Convention convenes in Indianapolis, Indiana, and nominates Eugene Debs for President, and Job Harriman (California) for Vice President. Their platform supports Government and ownership of business and utilities. The party renames the Socialist Party after the election.
- May 2, 1900: 1st United Christian Party National Convention convenes in Rock Island Illinois, and nominates Silas C. Swallow for President and John G. Woolley for Vice President. Later both candidates are replaced for Jonah Fitz Randolph Leonard for President and David H. Martin for Vice President.
- May 10, 1900: Populist (Middle of the Road) Convention nominates Wharton Barker for President, and nominates State Senator Ignatius Donnelly unanimously for Vice President.
- May 10, 1900: Populist Party (Fusion Faction) National Convention convenes in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and nominates William Jennings Bryan for President, and Charles A. Towne for Vice President. Towne, the national chairman of the Silver Republican Party, later withdraws. Populist Party (Fusion Faction) wants to merge with the Democratic Party and does.
- June 8, 1900: Socialist Labor Party National Convention convenes at Grand Central Palace in New York City, and nominates Joseph Maloney for President, Valentine Remmell Pennsylvania for Vice President both in the first ballot.
- June 19-21, 1900: Republican National Convention convenes at Convention Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The convention renominates on the 1st ballot William McKinley (Ohio) for President, and nominates Theodore Roosevelt (New York) for Vice President. William McKinley is unopposed for the nomination. The convention focuses on nominating a new Vice Presidential candidate. McKinley prefers Senator William B. Allison of Iowa, but Allison withdraws from balloting. As a successor, rank and file Republicans like New York Governor Theodore Roosevelt, famed as a “Rough Rider” in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Mark Hanna and President McKinley dislike Roosevelt. “Boss” Thomas Platt of New York, helps break the logjam, he is motivated by his desire to get Roosevelt, an anti-machine reformer, out of New York.
- June 25, 1900: The Anti-Imperialist League convenes in the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Silver Republicans, Gold Democrats, and independents attend to devise a strategy to best beat McKinley in the election.
- June 28, 1900: Prohibition National Convention convenes at the First Regiment Armory in Chicago, Illinois and nominates John Granville Woolley for President, and Henry B. Metcalf for Vice President.
- July 4-6, 1900: Democratic National Convention convenes at the Convention Hall in Kansas City, Missouri. James D. Richardson (Tennessee) serves as chairman/. Convention nominates on the 1st ballot William Jennings Bryan (Nebraska) for President, and Adlai E. Stevenson I (Illinois) for Vice President. The convention considers nominating Admiral George Dewey, a Spanish-American War hero, until he spurned any party affiliation. Democrats are still divided over currency issues, and are newly divided over imperialism/expansionism. William Jennings Bryan is nominated without any opposition. Bryan decides to allow the party and delegates choose his running-mate as he did in 1896. Adlai E. Stevenson is the front-runner after the first ballot, after several delegation switches the votes, he is nominated. First appearance of royalty at a political convention, King David Kawananakoa the Hawaiian heir to the throne is a delegate
- July 6, 1900: Silver Republican Convention convenes at the Auditorium, Kansas City, Missouri, and nominates/endorses William Jennings Bryan for President, they do not nominate a Vice Presidential candidate.
- July 12, 1900: “President McKinley formally accepts the Republican presidential nomination in a speech at Canton, Ohio.”
- July 25, 1900: National Democratic National Convention convenes their second and last convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Gold Democrats decide not to nominate a ticket.
- August 16, 1900: Anti-Imperialist National Convention convenes for a two day convention at Tomlinson Hall in Indianapolis Indiana, and nominates/endorses William Jennings Bryan for President and Adlai E. Stevenson for Vice President.
- August 21, 1900: The Anti-Imperialist League writes an address to get voters to help end the military occupation of the Philippines.
- August 27, 1900: The Populist Party National Committee re-assembles and decides to go with the Democrats choice for Vice President, Adlai Stevenson.
- September 3, 1900: Union Reform Party National Convention convenes in Baltimore, Maryland, and nominates Seth H. Ellis for President and the second top vote getter Samuel T. Nicholson is nominated Vice President.
- September 5, 1900: National (Prohibition) Party Convention convenes its second and last convention at Carnegie Lyceum in New York City. The convention nominates. Donelson Caffery (Louisiana) for President and Archibald M. Howe (Massachusetts) for Vice President, neither appear on the ballot come Election Day. Edward Waldo Emerson is the party’s Presidential candidate on Election Day.
- September 25, 1900: Adlai Stevenson accepts the Populist (Fusion) Party’s nomination/endorsement for Vice President.
- 1900: Front Porch Campaign: At his Canton, Ohio home McKinley greets sixteen delegations and 30,000 supporters during the campaign’s peak.
- 1900: Theodore Roosevelt, McKinley’s running mate, stumps covering 21,000 miles by train, giving 673 speeches in 24 states to an estimated three million people.
- 1900: Mark Hanna moves campaign headquarters to Chicago, to force Bryan to protect his home turf too. 2,500,000 pieces of literature flooded Indiana, 3,500,000 in Ohio.
- 1900: Bryan travels by train 18,000 miles to rallies in the Midwest and East, delivering 546 to approximately 2.5 million people.
- October 1900: Bryan futilely attacks: “Money, trusts, and imperialism” Anti-Imperialism: The Democrats could not get traction on the issue, partially because Bryan supports the Treaty of Paris that annexed the Philippines and Puerto Rico.
- 1900: Bryan oversteps in trying to woo Richard Croker of Tammany Hall, embarrassing himself by proclaiming “I am prepared to say that great is Tammany, and Croker is its prophet.”
- “Second Coming of Bryan” – in his second trip to New York, Bryan stumbles by trying to resurrect the silver issue, but Bryan kept on trying to “stand just where I stood” on silver.
- Until after the election Secretary of War Elihu Root buries General Arthur MacArthur’s pessimistic report that the Philippine-American War was not subsiding.
- November 6, 1900: Election Day, Republicans William McKinley is reelected President, and Theodore Roosevelt is elected Vice President.
- January 14, 1901: Presidential Electors meet to cast the electoral vote in their state capitols.