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1888 Republican National Convention

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1888 Republican National Convention
1888 presidential election
Pach Brothers - Benjamin Harrison.jpg
Levi Morton - Brady-Handy portrait - tight 3x4 crop.jpg
Harrison and Morton
Date(s)June 19–25, 1888
CityChicago, Illinois
VenueAuditorium Theatre
ChairMorris M. Estee
Presidential nomineeBenjamin Harrison of Indiana
Vice presidential nomineeLevi P. Morton of New York
Other candidatesJohn Sherman
Russell A. Alger
Walter Q. Gresham
Total delegates832
Votes needed for nomination417
Results (president)Harrison (IN): 544 (65.38%)
Sherman (OH): 118 (14.18%)
Alger (MI): 100 (12.02%)
Gresham (IN): 59 (7.09%)
Blaine (ME): 5 (0.60%)
McKinley (OH): 4 (0.48%)
Others: 1 (0.12%)
Results (vice president)Morton (NY): 592 (71.15%)
Phelps (NJ): 119 (14.3%)
Bradley (KY): 103 (12.38%)
Bruce (MS): 11 (1.32%)
Abstaining: 6 (0.72%)
Walter S. Thomas: 1 (0.12%)
‹ 1884  ·  1892 ›

The 1888 Republican National Convention was a presidential nominating convention held at the Auditorium Building in Chicago, Illinois, on June 19–25, 1888. It resulted in the nomination of former Senator Benjamin Harrison of Indiana for president and Levi P. Morton of New York, a former Representative and Minister to France, for vice president. During the convention, Frederick Douglass was invited to speak and became the first African-American to have his name put forward for a presidential nomination in a major party's roll call vote; he received one vote from Kentucky on the fourth ballot.

The ticket won in the election of 1888, defeating President Grover Cleveland and former Senator Allen G. Thurman from Ohio.

Issues addressed

Illustration of the convention
Illustration of the convention
Illustration of the convention
Illustration of the convention

Issues addressed in the convention included support for protective tariffs, repeal of taxes on tobacco, support for the use of gold and silver as currency and support for pensions for veterans. The party also expressed its opposition to polygamy.[1]

Presidential nomination


Not Nominated

The early favorite for the nomination was James G. Blaine.[2] After he disclaimed interest, several candidates vied for the prize, with the frontrunners being Russell A. Alger, Walter Q. Gresham, Chauncey Depew, and John Sherman.[2] After several ballots, none of the leading candidates was able to obtain a majority. Benjamin Harrison, who had served in the U.S. Senate from 1881 to 1887, but had lost reelection after the Democrats gained control of the Indiana legislature, was a dark horse candidate.[2][3] Republicans were dispirited after losing the presidency in 1884 and were attracted to Harrison because of the speech announcing his presidential candidacy, in which he described himself as a "living and rejuvenated Republican."[3] Harrison won the nomination on the eighth ballot and "Rejuvenated Republicanism" became the party's campaign slogan.[3]

Presidential Ballot
Ballot 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
Benjamin Harrison 85 91 94 216 212 231 279 544
John Sherman 229 249 244 235 224 244 230 118
Russell A. Alger 84 116 122 135 143 137 120 100
Walter Q. Gresham 107 108 123 98 87 91 91 59
William B. Allison 72 75 88 88 99 73 76 0
Chauncey Depew 99 99 91 0 0 0 0 0
James G. Blaine 35 33 35 42 48 40 15 5
John James Ingalls 28 16 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jeremiah McLain Rusk 25 20 16 0 0 0 0 0
William Walter Phelps 25 18 5 0 0 0 0 0
Edwin Henry Fitler 24 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
William McKinley 2 3 8 11 14 12 16 4
Joseph R. Hawley 13 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Robert Todd Lincoln 3 2 2 1 0 0 2 0
Samuel Freeman Miller 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0
Joseph B. Foraker 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0
Creed Haymond 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Frederick Dent Grant 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
Frederick Douglass 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Blank 1 2 2 4 5 2 1 2

Vice Presidential nomination

Blaine, who had recommended Harrison for the presidential nomination, suggested former Representative and Minister to Austria-Hungary William Walter Phelps of New Jersey for vice president. Thomas C. Platt, an influential political boss in New York State, supported fellow New Yorker Levi P. Morton, a former Representative and Minister to France. He had been asked in 1880, but declined.[4] This time Morton decided to accept.[2] He was easily elected on the first ballot as Platt's support of Morton helped him defeat Phelps by a margin of five to one.[2]

Vice Presidential Ballot
Ballot 1st
Levi P. Morton 591
William Walter Phelps 119
William O'Connell Bradley 103
Blanche K. Bruce 11
Walter F. Thomas 1

Accusation of delegate vote-buying

Illustration of the convention
Illustration of the convention

Nearly a decade later, Ohio candidate John Sherman accused Michigan candidate millionaire Russell A. Alger of buying the votes of Southern delegates who had already confirmed their vote for Sherman. In Sherman's 1895 two-volume book "Recollections" he asserted, "I believe, and had, as I thought, conclusive proof, that the friends of Gen. Alger substantially purchased the votes of many of the delegates from the Southern States who had been instructed by their conventions to vote for me." Once accused, Alger submitted correspondence to the New York Times, who published one letter from 1888, written after the convention to Alger, where Sherman states, "if you bought some [votes], according to universal usage, surely I don't blame you." Later in the same New York Times article, Alger insisted neither he or friends bought a single vote. The article also quotes another delegate, James Lewis, who claimed that "the colored delegates of the South will unite on a Union soldier in preference" instead of a civilian.[5]

When Sherman introduced his antitrust legislation two years later, his main example of unlawful combination drew from a Michigan Supreme Court case involving Diamond Match Company and Alger's participation as president and stock holder.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Official Proceedings of the Republican National Convention Held at Chicago, June 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 25, 1888 Archived 2008-08-29 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c d e Girard, Jolyon P. (2019). Presidents and Presidencies in American History. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. pp. 700–701. ISBN 978-1-4408-6591-6.
  3. ^ a b c Spetter, Allan B. (2019). "Benjamin Harrison: Campaigns and Elections". U.S. Presidents. Charlottesville, VA: Miller Center, University of Virginia. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
  4. ^ Historian of the U.S. Senate. "Levi Parsons Morton, 22nd Vice President (1889-1893)". Washington, DC: United States Senate. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
  5. ^ Alger Answers Sherman; Denial that Southern Delegates Sold Their Votes. The Senators Charges Refuted In an Autograph Letter He Practically Withdrew His Charge of Unfairness -- Gen. Sherman Not Opposed to the Purchase of Votes.[1]
  6. ^ Sherman to Alger.

External links

Preceded by
Republican National Conventions Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 27 March 2022, at 03:51
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