The Election of 1896 and the Administration of William McKinley

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The 1896 presidential election featured two candidates with very different backgrounds and styles. Republican William McKinley was a conservative veteran of the Civil War who had lost his seat in Congress after writing a protective tariff bill in 1890. McKinley carried out his campaign from the porch of his Ohio home, greeting groups of supporters and making carefully considered speeches. His Democratic opponent was 36-year-old William Jennings Bryan, a fiery populist orator from Nebraska who appealed to western ...
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Overview

The 1896 presidential election featured two candidates with very different backgrounds and styles. Republican William McKinley was a conservative veteran of the Civil War who had lost his seat in Congress after writing a protective tariff bill in 1890. McKinley carried out his campaign from the porch of his Ohio home, greeting groups of supporters and making carefully considered speeches. His Democratic opponent was 36-year-old William Jennings Bryan, a fiery populist orator from Nebraska who appealed to western voters because of his call for free coinage of silver. The energetic Bryan conducted a vigorous campaign, speaking to large crowds throughout the country. In The Election of 1896 and the Administration of William McKinley, Senate historian Donald A. Ritchie examines an election that marked the start of a new era in American polities.

A discussion of the presidential election of 1896 and the subsequent administration of William McKinley, based on source documents.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
In 1896 the forces of wealth backed Republican candidate, William McKinley. A Civil War veteran, McKinley supported the gold standard, thus taking a position that stood in opposition to populist leaders at a time when the nation was in a depressed economic condition. Opposing McKinley in his presidential bid was the Democratic candidate, William Jennings Bryan. A powerful speaker, Bryan had far more limited financial support. Therefore, Bryan relied upon his own energy and an exhausting campaign schedule that featured as many as twenty-five speeches a day. Eventually, McKinley prevailed but not by a significant margin. The election of 1896 was both dramatic and noteworthy as it featured two powerful opponents at a time when the United States stood on the brink of becoming a powerful influence on the global scene. This subject is the substance of editor and historian Arthur Schlesinger's illustrated work. Part of the broader "Major Presidential Elections and the Administrations that Followed" series, this book follows the same outline as other volumes in this set. Sadly, as in most instances in this series, Schlesinger has attempted to do too much with too little. The portion of the book that details the election is ably written but very brief. The remainder of the book is a series of primary source documents that are afforded very little introduction for the reader. One is left with inadequate information to really understand the election of 1896 and substantial resource information that lacks a historical context. 2003, Mason Crest Publishers, Romaneck
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction 6
The Election of 1896 17
Facts at a Glance 34
Democratic Party Platform of 1896 39
Republican Party Platform of 1896 47
The People's [Populist] Party Platform 55
The "Cross of Gold" Speech 61
Bryan Becomes Populist Candidate 73
McKinley Accepts the Nomination 77
McKinley's First Inaugural Address 87
The Annexation of Hawaii 97
Peace Treaty with Spain 101
The Open Door Policy 111
Second Inaugural Address 115
The Assassination of McKinley 125
Further Reading 130
Index 132
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