Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion: The Making of a President, 1884 / Edition 1

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The presidential election of 1884, in which Grover Cleveland ended the Democrats' twenty-four-year presidential drought by defeating Republican challenger James G. Blaine, was one of the gaudiest in American history, remembered today less for its political significance than for the mudslinging and slander that characterized the campaign. But a closer look at the infamous election reveals far more complexity than previous stereotypes allowed, argues Mark Summers. Behind all the mud and malarkey, he says, lay a world of issues and consequences.

Summers suggests that both Democrats and Republicans sensed a political system breaking apart, or perhaps a new political order forming, as voters began to drift away from voting by party affiliation toward voting according to a candidate's stand on specific issues. Mudslinging, then, was done not for public entertainment but to tear away or confirm votes that seemed in doubt. Uncovering the issues that really powered the election and stripping away the myths that still surround it, Summers uses the election of 1884 to challenge many of our preconceptions about Gilded Age politics.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
[An] exhaustive discussion of the campaign of 1884.—RALPH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807825242
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 3/20/2000
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 408
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.53 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Wahlgren Summers is professor of history at the University of Kentucky and author of The Press Gang: Newspapers and Politics, 1865-1878.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction
Prologue: Judgment Day
Chapter 1. No Business To-Day Other Than Politics Chapter 2. The Dispirit of '76
Chapter 3. The Bloody Shirt—In Hoc Signo Vinces Chapter 4. The Politics of Personality Chapter 5. O Temperance, O Mores!
Chapter 6. The Protection Racket Chapter 7. The Democrats Rise from the Dead Chapter 8. The Passing of Arthur Chapter 9. We Love Him for the Enemies He Has Made Chapter 10. The Public Be Crammed!
Chapter 11. Love's Libels Lost Chapter 12. Windypendents' Day Chapter 13. Ireland Sold for Gold!
Chapter 14. Sideshows Chapter 15. Carrying the War into Africa Chapter 16. Local All Over Chapter 17. Clerical Errors Chapter 18. Lord! But We Skirted the Edge!
Chapter 19. Justice at Last!
Notes Bibliography Index

"Another voice for Cleveland"
The Blaine tariff fraud
"His own destroyer"
Death at the polls and free from "federal interference"
"Mr. Tilden's body-guard"
"This puts me in the devil of a position"
A cartoon of what Democrats thought Readjuster rule meant
"Rival rag-pickers"
"The 'magnetic' Blaine"
"A grand Shakespearian revival"
"A big job"
"Her platform going to pieces"
"Senator Bayard strikes his grand attitude on the tariff question"
"Cleveland the celibate"
"Made harmless at last!"
"Blaine leans towards Logan"
"Phryne before the Chicago tribunal"
"He courts the mother and means the daughter"
He can't beat his record
"Those dogs won't fight—they are dying of starvation"

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