2McKinley - RepublicanThe leading Republican candidate in 1896 was William McKinley, a respectable and friendly former Civil War major who had served many years in Congress representing his native Ohio.McKinley was the making of another Ohioan, Marcus Alonzo Hanna, who financially and politically supported McKinley through his political years.McKinley was a conservative in business, preferring to leaves things alone, and his platform was for the gold standard, even though he personally was not.His platform called for gold-silver bimetallism, provided all other nations in the world did the same (which was not bound to happen).
3Democrat/PopulistThe Democrats were in disarray, unable to produce a candidate, until William Jennings Bryan (“Boy Orator of the Platte”) came to their rescue.The Populist Party also supported Bryan, and the number one issue of the election became the debate over the free and unlimited coinage of silverAt the 1896 Democratic Convention in Chicago, Bryan delivered a movingly passionate speech in favor of free silver. In this “Cross of Gold Speech” he created a sensation, winning nomination for the Democratic ticket the next day.The Democratic ticket called for unlimited coinage of silver with the ratio of 16 silver ounces worth as much as one ounce of gold.Democrats who would not stand for this left the party.
5Gold Bugs & Silverites Gold Bugs Silverites Who They Were Bankers and businessmenFarmers and industrial laborersWhat They Wanted- gold standard- LESS money in circulation- bimetallism- MORE money in circulationWhyLoans would be repaid in stable moneyProducts would be sold at higher pricesEffectsDEFLATION-Prices fall.-Value ofmoneyincreases.-Fewer peoplehave money.INFLATION-Prices rise.decreases.-More people
6Republicans were “gold bugs” Republicans were “gold bugs”. They elected William McKinley for president.The Democrats AND the Populists both favored bimetallism, so BOTH parties nominated William Jennings Bryan, who had delivered an emotional speech at the Democratic convention in favor of bimetallism, known as the “Cross of Gold” speech.Thus, the stage was set for a momentous showdown between wealthy and poor interests, and on election day, the vote for the White House went for…………………..
23The Wizard of Oz = Big Business, the Giant Corporations Who Ruled D.C.?
24Unfortunately for the Populists, their inspired movement for the White House ultimately failed when McKinley won the election and defeated Bryan for the presidency.Bryan’s meager funds could not match the millions of dollars backing McKinley by rich industrialists, and though he campaigned furiously throughout the country, sometimes making as many as 20 speeches a day (while McKinley merely campaigned from his own front porch), Bryan only garnered 6.5 million votes to McKinley’s 7 million.Ultimately, not enough industrial workers (Tin Men) voted for him because they were afraid that bimetallism would lead to higher prices on goods and that their rich employers would not raise their wages in order to help them keep up with the already tough economy.In fact, many of the big business owners not only warned their workers that they would not increase their wages if Bryan won but that they’d also better not bother showing up for work the next day – because they’d be FIRED!Thus, with McKinley’s election, Populism collapsed, burying the hopes of the farmers.Yet then again, not so fast…….
25Much of the Populist’s political platform actually succeeded in the long run and left two powerful legacies:1. A message that poor people and less powerful groups in society could organize and have a political impact.2. And like the phoenix rising from the ashes, many of the reforms on its agenda would eventually be enacted in the coming of the early 20th century:a graduated income tax (where the amount of taxes one pays is based on one’s income)an 8-hour workdaydirect election of U.S senators by the people themselvesa secret ballot to end vote fraudimmigration restrictionsAND, federal loans for farmers.
26Class Conflict: Plowholders vs. Bondholders SO! Despite a strong Populist showing, McKinley won decisively w/ 271 electoral votes (mostly from the populous East & upper Midwest) opposed to Bryan’s 176 (mostly from the South & West).This election was perhaps the most important since those involving Lincoln, as it was the 1st to seemingly pit the privileged against the under-privileged, and resulted in a victory for big business and big cities.Thus, the Election of 1896 could be called the “gold vs. silver” election. And, put to the vote, it was clear Americans were staying with gold.
27Republican “Standpattism” Enthroned When McKinley took office in 1897, he was calm and conservative, working well with his party and avoiding major confrontations.The Dingley Tariff Bill, passed to replace the Wilson-Gorman law and raise more revenue, raised the tariff level to whopping 46.5%.Fortunately, the social and economic hardships caused by the monetary crisis over the gold/silver inflation issue was relieved when international gold strikes occurred right after McKinley took office, most notably in the Yukon region of Alaska.