PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN & ELECTIONS
OVERVIEWS & CHRONOLOGIES: 1904
By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS
Election Year: 1904
Election Day Date: November 8, 1904
- Theodore Roosevelt, Charles Fairbanks, Republican 7,630,557 56.42% 336 70.6%
- Alton Parker, Henry Davis, Democratic 5,083,880 37.59% 140 29.4%
- Eugene Debs, Benjamin Hanford, Socialist 402,810 2.98% 0 0.0%
- Silas Swallow, George Carroll, Prohibition 259,103 1.92% 0 0.0%
- Thomas Watson, Thomas Tibbles, Populist 114,062 0.84% 0 0.0%
- Other (+) – – 34,683 0.26% 0 0.0%
Voter Turnout: 65.2%
Central Forums/Campaign Methods for Addressing Voters:
Stumping, speaking tour; Front-Porch campaign; speeches, pamphlets, newspapers, rallies
Election Law/Campaign Finance Changes:
- Presidential primary law Florida, 1901: gave the option to hold a primary election to choose any party nominee, including delegates to the Democratic National Convention
Incumbent President and Vice President on Election Day:
Theodore Roosevelt, Republican 1901-1905
Population: 1904: 95,335,000
GDP: 139 Nominal GDP (billions of dollars): $37.4 Real GDP (billions of 2005 dollars): $576.9 GDP Deflator (index 2005=100%) 6.48 Population (in thousands): 95,335 Nominal GDP per capita (current dollars): $392 Real GDP per capita (year 2005 dollars): $6,051
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 conventions
Central Issues (Nomination/Primaries):
- Theodore Roosevelt (“His Accidency”),”Square Deal”
Leading Candidates (Nomination/Primaries):
Republican Party candidates:
- Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States (New York)
- Mark Hanna, U.S. Senator (Ohio)
Democratic Party candidates:
- Alton B. Parker, Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals (New York)
- William Randolph Hearst, U.S. Representative (New York)
Main Controversies (Nomination/Primaries):
Campaign Innovations (Nomination/Primaries):
- Primaries: Direct election of delegates to the national convention to minimize the power of the bosses and their political machines.
- Florida: the first state to hold a presidential primary to select delegates to a national convention.
Major Personalities (Nomination/Primaries):
William Jennings Bryan; Grover Cleveland; William Randolph Hearst; Maryland Senator Arthur Gorman
Turning Points (Nomination/Primaries):
- Democratic Party: William Jennings Bryan refused to run for a third straight time, but endorsed former President Grover Cleveland.
- William Randolph Hearst, chairman of the National Association of Democratic Clubs, tried to boost his candidacy with Hearst-for-President clubs and a “Hearst Brigade” of reformers in Congress.
- May 18, Ion Perdicaris, American citizen living in Morrocco was kidnapped and held for randsom by Raisuli, a bandit. Roosevelt rushed to send warships and had Secretary of State John Hay to send the message “This Government wants Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead” to the American consul-general in Tangier. Morroc secured his released by then, and Perdicaris, was not an American but rather a Greek citizen, still at the Republican convention the slogan “Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead!” was chanted
- “I’d rather be elected to that office than have anything tangible of which I know. But I shall never be elected to it. They don’t want me.” Theodore Roosevelt
- “What an inspiration it would be to hear Democratic leadership proclaim, ‘Bryanism is not Democracy.'” Former President Grover Cleveland
- “They demand the leadership and say to the party, ‘Did we not hold office in thy name, and in thy name draw large salaries?'” William Jennings Bryan
Conventions (Dates & Locations):
- Republican National Convention: June 21-23, 1904, Chicago Coliseum; Chicago, 1st ballot, Theodore Roosevelt (New York), Charles W. Fairbanks (Indiana)
- Democratic National Convention: July 6-9, 1904, St. Louis Coliseum I; Saint Louis, Champ Clark (Missouri), 1st ballot, Alton B. Parker (New York), Henry G. Davis (West Virginia)
Convention Turning Points:
Republican National Convention:
- Republican bosses rejected Roosevelt’s choice for a running mate, Representative Robert R. Hitt, to punish the President for imposing George Cortelyou on them as National Chairman
Democratic National Convention:
- To thwart the newspaper publisher and Congressman William Randolph Hearst, New York’s Tammany Hall political machine and the conservative wing of the party nominated Alton B. Parker, Bourbon Democrat, Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals.
- In an unprecedented move, Alton B. Parker sent a telegram after he was nominated saying he would only accept the nomination if the party supported the gold standard.
Number of Ballots to Choose Nominees:
Republican Party nomination
Presidential 1st Ballot
- Theodore Roosevelt 994
Vice Presidential 1st Ballot
- Charles W. Fairbanks 994
Democratic Party nomination
Presidential 1st Ballot
- Alton B. Parker 679
- William Randolph Hearst 181
- Francis M. Cockrell 42
- Richard Olney 38
- Edward C. Wall 27
- George Gray 12
- John S. Williams 8
- Robert E. Pattison 4
- George B. McClellan, Jr. 3
- Nelson A. Miles 3
- Charles A. Towne 2
- Bird Sim Coler 1
Vice Presidential 1st Ballot
- Henry G. Davis 654
- James R. Williams 165
- George Turner 100
- William A. Harris 58
- Abstaining 23
Third Party Candidates and Nominations:
- Socialist Party: Presidential, Eugene Victor Debs; Vice Presidential, Benjamin Hanford
- Immigrant communities (German and Finnish) and Western mining areas supported the Socialist Party of America
Convention Keynote Speaker:
Nominating Speech Speakers (President):
- Democratic: Champ Clark (Missouri)
- Maintain protective tariff, increase foreign trade, respect gold standard, expand the merchant marine, build strong navy;
- Praised Roosevelt’s foreign and domestic policy
- Omitted the currency issue (Alton Parker’s telegram supported the gold standard);
- reduce government spending; wanted congressional investigation of the executive departments; end government contracts with companies violating antitrust laws;
- endorsed: independence for the Philippines; eight-hour work day; construction of a Panama Canal; direct election of senators, western territories statehood; and extermination of polygamy, reciprocal trade agreements, army cuts; civil service laws enforcement
- condemned monopolies, the protective tariff, imperialism;
- Condemned the Roosevelt administration as “spasmodic, erratic, sensational, spectacular, and arbitrary”
General Election Controversies/Issues:
- Much overlap between the Democrats and Republicans, the few flashpoints included: the gold standard; anti imperialism, fair treatment for the Filipinos; the rights of labor unions.
- Democrats fight “Rooseveltism” more than “Republicanism” — Roosevelt’s charisma and bombast
Campaign Innovations (General Election):
Colorless campaign with neither candidate campaigning much.
- Roosevelt did not actively campaign, adhering to the precedent that sitting Presidents did not campaign;
- Roosevelt stayed at Sagamore Hill Parker on his farm in Esopus, New York.
- Parker also refrained from the stump. Attacks Roosevelt for “Cortelyouism”, for “blackmailing” corporations, for seizing too much power.
Major Personalities (General Election):
- George B. Cortelyou; Joseph Pulitzer; E. H. Harriman; Eugene Debs;
Turning Points (General Election):
- On October 1, Joseph Pulitzer’s, New York World, full page editorial accused Roosevelt of corruption in the Bureau of Corporations
- Claimed Roosevelt made George B. Cortelyou the Secretary of Commerce and Labor, Republican National Chairman to bully corporations into making large donations.
- In 1907, evidence emerged that insurance companies contributed generously to Roosevelt’s 1904 campaign
- Roosevelt also called Railroad magnet E. H. Harriman and U. S. Steel head Henry Clay Frick requesting money to win New York state, (Harriman gave $50,000, and collected another $200,000, Frick gave $100,000). Roosevelt denied that too.
- Frick later complained: “We bought the son of a bitch and he did not stay bought.”
- Judge Parker let loose, condemning Roosevelt’s “shameless … willingness to make compromises with decency.”
- Roosevelt angrily refuted the allegations in a public letter released November 4, saying he was speaking “lest the silence of self-respect be misunderstood.”.
- Roosevelt declined a $100,000 contribution from Standard Oil to demonstrate his virtue.
Popular Campaign Slogans:
- Democrats call Roosevelt “his Accidency” and “that damned cowboy”
- Republican: Roosevelt the Cry (Theodore Roosevelt)
Influential Campaign Appeals or Ads: Republicans as “the ‘do something’ party”
Money Spent (Each Campaign/Party/Overall):
- Republican Party: $2,195,000 in contributions, three-quarters from corporations
- Democrats barely raised half a million dollars.
Defining Quotation (Winning Candidate):
- “The assertion that there has been any blackmail, direct or indirect, by Mr. Cortelyou or by me, is a falsehood.” Theodore Roosevelt
- “The criminal rich and the fool rich will do all they can to beat me.” Theodore Roosevelt
- “My dear, I am no longer a political accident!” Theodore Roosevelt to his wife after his landslide.
Defining Quotation (Losing Candidate):
- “I regard the gold standard as firmly and irrevocably established and shall act accordingly if the action of the convention today shall be ratified by the people. As the platform is silent on the subject, my view should be made known to the convention, and if it is proved to be unsatisfactory to the majority, I request you to decline the nomination for me at once, so that another may be nominated before adjournment.” Alton B. Parker, Nomination Acceptance Letter
- “And has he no faults, this hero of mine? Yes, he has and I am glad of it, for I want a live man for a friend, not a dead saint.” TR Campaign Biography
- “1. how much has the beef trust contributed to Mr. Cortelyou? 2. how much has the paper trust contributed to Mr. Cortelyou? 3. how much has the coal trust contributed to Mr. Cortelyou? 4. how much has the sugar trust contributed to Mr. Cortelyou? 5. how much has the oil trust contributed to Mr. Cortelyou? 6. how much has the tobacco trust contributed to Mr. Cortelyou? 7. how much has the steel trust contributed to Mr. Cortelyou? 8. how much have the national banks contributed to Mr. Cortelyou? 9. how much has the insurance trust contributed to Mr. Cortelyou? 10. how much have the six great railroads contributed to Mr. Cortelyou?” Joseph Pulitzer, New York World, October 1, 1904
Significant books about the campaign:
Lasting Legacy of Campaign:
- Roosevelt won the election by a landslide – in a personal triumph, running far ahead of his party.
- After winning, Roosevelt promised to retire after this term, upholding Washington’s no-third-term tradition.
- Twelve African-American delegates and four women served as alternates to the Republican National convention.
- Democratic Party Vice Presidential candidate Henry G. Davis (West Virginia) at 81 was the oldest major party candidate ever nominated for national office.
- June 11, 1901: President McKinley announces he will not run for a third term.
- September 5, 1901: President McKinley endorses tariff reciprocity in his last speech, given in Buffalo, New York, “The period of exclusiveness is past. The expansion of our trade and commerce is the pressing problem.”
- September 6, 1901: “Leon Czolgosz shoots McKinley in the stomach while the President shakes hands at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. Czolgosz, an anarchist, admitted to the shooting, and he expressed no remorse for his actions. He died in the electric chair on October 29, 1901.”
- September 14, 1901: “President McKinley dies from his wounds as the result of complications due to gangrene.”
- September 14, 1901: Theodore Roosevelt succeeds to the Presidency.
- 1901: Florida is the first state to hold a presidential primary to select delegates to a national convention.
- November 18, 1901: United States and Great Britain sign the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty giving control of an isthmian canal to the United States.
- December 16, 1901: Senate ratifies the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty.
- June 28, 1902: Congress passes the Isthmian Canal Act, for the building a canal in Panama.
- July 1, 1902: Congress passes the Philippine Government Act, defines the Philippine Islands as an unorganized territory and all its inhabitants as territorial citizens.
- September 2, 1902: Roosevelt speech on foreign policy, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”
- November 4, 1902: Midterm elections; Republicans gain control of the House, 208-178 majority, and maintains control in the Senate, 57 to 33.
- February 19, 1903: “The Department of Justice announces that the federal government would prosecute the Northern Securities Company (a subsidiary of J.P. Morgan) for violating the Sherman Antitrust Act.”
- November 18, 1903: “United States negotiates the Hay-Buneau-Varilla Treaty with Panama to build the Panama Canal. The treaty gives the United States control of a ten-mile-wide canal zone in return for $10,000,000 in gold plus a yearly fee of $250,000.”
- February 29, 1904: “Roosevelt appoints the Panama Canal Commission to oversee the construction of the Panama Canal.”
- March 14, 1904: “In accordance with the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, the Supreme Court, in Northern Securities Company v. United States, orders the dissolution of the Northern Securities Company. The decision is major victory for TR and his belief in the necessity of trust-busting.”
- William Jennings Bryan refuses to run for a third straight time as the Democratic Party’s candidate, but endorses former President Grover Cleveland.
- William Randolph Hearst, chairman of the National Association of Democratic Clubs, tries to boost his candidacy with Hearst-for-President clubs and a “Hearst Brigade” of reformers in Congress.
- May 18, 1904: Ion Perdicaris, an American citizen living in Morrocco is kidnapped and held for randsom by Raisuli, a bandit. Roosevelt rushes to send warships and had Secretary of State John Hay to send the message “This Government wants Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead” to the American consul-general in Tangier. Morroc secures his released by then. Perdicaris was not even an American, but a Greek citizen, still at the Republican convention the slogan “Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead!” is chanted.
- May 4, 1904: United Christian Party National Convention convenes in St. Louis Missouri, and adopts a platform, but does not nominate any candidates.
- May 6, 1904: Socialist National Convention nominates Eugene Victor Debs for President.
- June 21-23, 1904: Republican National Convention convenes at the Chicago Coliseum in Chicago, Illinois, and nominates on the 1st ballot Theodore Roosevelt (New York) for President, and Charles W. Fairbanks (Indiana) for Vice President. Republican bosses reject Roosevelt’s choice for a running mate, Representative Robert R. Hitt to punish the President for imposing George Cortelyou on them as National Chairman.
- July 1, 1904: 9th Prohibition Party National Convention convenes in Indianapolis Indiana and nominates Silas Comfort Swallow for President.
- July 6, 1904: Populist Convention convenes at the Illinois State Arsenal, in Springfield Illinois and nominates Thomas Edward Watson for President on the second ballot, and nominates Thomas H. Tibbles, Nebraska for Vice President. (Chairman: J.M. Mallett Texas; Secretary: Charles H. DeFrance Nebraska)
- July 5-6, 1904: National Liberty National Convention convenes at the Douglas Hotel in St. Louis Missouri, and nominates Stanley P. Mitchell Tennessee for President, but he declines. They do not find a replacement nominee.
- July 8, 1904: Socialist Labor Party National Convention convenes at Grand Central Palace in New York City and nominates Charles Hunter Corregan for President.
- July 6-9, 1904: Democratic National Convention convenes at St. Louis Coliseum I in Saint Louis, Missouri. Champ Clark (Missouri) serves as chairman. The convention nominates on 1st ballot Alton B. Parker (New York) for President and, Henry G. Davis (West Virginia) for Vice President. To thwart the newspaper publisher and Congressman William Randolph Hearst, New York’s Tammany Hall political machine and the conservative wing of the party nominate Alton B. Parker, a Bourbon Democrat, and Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals. In an unprecedented move, Alton B. Parker sends a telegram after he is nominated saying he would only accept the nomination if the party supported the gold standard.
- August 31, 1904: Continental Party Convention convenes their only convention in Chicago. Illinois. The party nominates Charles H. Howard (Illinois) for President and George H. Shibley (New York) for Vice President both of whom decline They replace on their ticket Austin Holcomb (Georgia) for President and A.A. King (Missouri) for Vice President.
- Fall 1904: Roosevelt does not actively campaign, adhering to the precedent that sitting Presidents did not campaign; Roosevelt stays at Sagamore Hill Parker on his farm in Esopus, New York.
- Fall 1904: Parker also refrains from the stump, attacks Roosevelt for “Cortelyouism”, for “blackmailing” corporations, for seizing too much power.
- October 1, 1904: Joseph Pulitzer’s, New York World prints a full-page editorial accusing Roosevelt of corruption in the Bureau of Corporations. The editorial claims Roosevelt made George B. Cortelyou the Secretary of Commerce and Labor, Republican National Chairman to bully corporations into making large donations.
- October 1904: Roosevelt also called Railroad magnet E. H. Harriman and U. S. Steel head Henry Clay Frick requesting money to win New York State, (Harriman gave $50,000, and collected another $200,000, Frick gave $100,000). Roosevelt denies that too. Frick later complains: “We bought the son of a bitch and he did not stay bought.”
- October, November 1904: Roosevelt declines a $100,000 contribution from Standard Oil to demonstrate his virtue.
- Judge Parker lets loose, condemning Roosevelt’s “shameless … willingness to make compromises with decency.”
- November 4, 1904: Roosevelt angrily refutes the allegations in a public letter released saying he was speaking “lest the silence of self-respect be misunderstood.”
- November 8, 1904: Election Day, Republicans Theodore Roosevelt is elected President, and Charles W. Fairbanks is elected Vice President.
- November 8, 1904: “Roosevelt vows to not seek another presidential term in order to deflect Democratic charges that he would remain in office for life.”
- January 9, 1905: Presidential Electors cast the electoral vote in their state capitols.
- 1907: Evidence emerges that insurance companies contributed generously to Roosevelt’s 1904 campaign.