« PreviousContinue »
First Presidential Campaign.
Governor McKinley was formally apprised of his nomination for the presidency June 29 by the committee appointed by the convention. Governor McKinley received the committee on the veranda of his home. The streets about the house were filled with people, men, women and children, who listened with great interest to the proceedings. Senator Thurston, of Nebraska, speaking for the committee, informed the governor of the honor the convention had conferred upon him, and said:
“We respectfully request your acceptance of this nomination and your approval of the declaration of the principles adopted by the convention. We assure you that you are the unanimous choice of a united party, and your candidacy will be immediately accepted by the country as an absolute guarantee of the republican success.
"Your nomination has been made in obedience to popular demand, whose universality and spontaneity attest the affection and confidence of the plain people of the United States. By common consent you are their champion. Their mighty uprising in your behalf emphasizes the sincerity of their conversion to the cardinal principles of protection and reciprocity as best exemplified in that splendid congressional act which bears your name. * * *
“But your nomination means more than the indorsement of a protective tariff, of reciprocity, of sound money, and of honest finance, for all of which you have so steadfastly stood. It means an endorsement of your heroic youth, your faithful years of arduous public services, your sterling patriotism, your stalwart Americanism, your Christian character, and the purity, fidelity and simplicity of your private life. In all these things you are the typical American; for all of these things you are the chosen leader of the people. God give you strength so to bear the honor and meet the duties of that great office for which you are now nominated, and to which you will be elected, that your administration will enhance the dignity and power and glory of this republic and secure the safety, welfare and happiness of its liberty-loving people.”
In his reply to Senator Thurston, Governor McKinley said: "To be selected as their presidential candidate by a great party
the silver question, and 16 to I was heard on every side. The tar.com had seemingly disappeared as an issue, and everybody was intercsic. in the theory—not new, but freshly agitated—that all the peuple niecie: to insure prosperity was more money per capita.
Sentiment was rapidly crystallizing when the democratic nat:13: convention was held. The populists had already held their contenit: jis and nominated William Jennings Bryan, of Nebraska, on a platí jirii demanding free coinage of silver at the ratio of 16 to 1, and other things too numerous to mention. The silver craze had spread througii the rank and file of the democratic party so fully that it was setii that the national convention would be committed to the disctrine. Sanyi the eastern democrats protested against such action, and the furciiig il upon the convention resulted in a split. the biters taking the 113 of “Gold Democrats." and putting a national ticket in the fiehi. The democratic national convention was held in Chicago, in tie CASTIL Mr. Bryan came to the contention as a de!egate, ani a poruncer channpion of the silver theory. He was stila democrat, and had not áski the nomination ter jezel times the saints. Neiti er bari Le regarded as a prominert cassiate Liite presidency. He was young and there were wbeel
drives in te party to be rewarded. “Siiner Dick," as the Ho Richard P.Pangi Menuri, was called, because of his lorg defense of size is the mese cf represes tatives as a molley metal, was one oi the mist
i t can cater, and Governor Horace Boies, who had succeeier in woning te re can state of Iowa fur the democrats, 2.50 kaca are " But Mr. Bryan hiad already achieved fame as ar catt, arcuriig tit cotilention he took the pialform and made a most turnt Sitert in fatus of the free coinage of silver. The actress 5 eierriiete convention that delegation after delegation rated in 1: Bryan 1: the balloting began, and before the roll ca vas finishes it has seen that he was nominated.
Following the nomination riit. Bryan began a campaign the like of which hari perhaps never been seen in any country. It was full spectacular features, and there was more eloquence to the square than had ever been 1771. leiure. Everybody turned speech-ma and jew places were regarder en tur sacred, and few moments as proper, in which Ir discuss the m entous questions. On the stree in railway cars, T. sieamais, ir intels, stores. factories, and at the famt bar: the great que tot. Han threshed out. The excitement was intense. On poti sires the people believed a crisis had arrived. The republicans declare the election of Mr. Bryan moont repudiation of obligations. ruin and national dishonor. The
s retorted that there cuuic be il tepudiati ir ir ticking to the
convention, representing so vast a number of the people of the United States, is a most distinguished honor, for which I would not conceal my high appreciation, although deeply sensible of the great responsibilities of the trust, and my inability to bear them without the generous and constant support of my fellow countrymen. Great as is the honor conferred, equally arduous and important is the duty imposed, and in accepting the one I assume the other, relying upon the patriotic devotion of the people to the best interests of our beloved country, and the sustaining care and aid of Him without whose support all we do is empty and vain.
"Should the people ratify the choice of the great convention for which you speak, my only aim will be to promote the public good, which in America is always the good of the greatest number, the honor of our country, and the welfare of the people.”
He then discussed the questions to be settled by the election, and concluded as follows:
“The platform adopted by the republican national convention has received my careful consideration, and has my unqualified approval. It is a matter of gratification to me, as I am sure it must be to you and republicans everywhere, and to all our people, that the expressions of its declarations of principles are so direct, clear and emphatic. They are too plain and positive to leave any chance for doubt or questioni as to their purport and meaning. But you will not expect me to discuss its provisions at length, or in detail at this time. It will, however, be my duty and pleasure, at some future day, to make to you, and through you to the great party you represent, a more formal acceptance of the nomination tendered me.
“No one could be more profoundly grateful than I for the manifestation of public confidence of which you have so eloquently spoken. It shall be my aim to attest this appreciation by an unsparing devotion to what I esteem the best interests of the people, and in this work I ask the counsel and support of you, gentlemen, and of every other friend of the country. The generous expressions with which you, sir, convey the official notice of my nomination are highly appreciated, and as fully reciprocated, and I thank you, and your associates of the notification committee, and the great party and convention at whose instance you come, for the high and exceptional distinction bestowed upon me.”
His letter of acceptance which followed some weeks later was a masterly document, and clearly indicated the study he had given to all the great questions then agitating the minds of the people.
Though not in accordance with the forms and ceremonies, the campaign was already opened. For months the people had been discussing the silver question, and 16 to I was heard on every side. The tariff had seemingly disappeared as an issue, and everybody was interested in the theory—not new, but freshly agitated—that all the people needed to insure prosperity was more money per capita.
Sentiment was rapidly crystallizing when the democratic nationai convention was held. The populists had already held their convention and nominated William Jennings Bryan, of Nebraska, on a platform demanding free coinage of silver at the ratio of 16 to 1, and other things too numerous to mention. The silver craze had spread through the rank and file of the democratic party so fully that it was seen that the national convention would be committed to the doctrine. Many of the eastern democrats protested against such action, and the forcing it upon the convention resulted in a split, the bolters taking the name of "Gold Democrats," and putting a national ticket in the field. The democratic national convention was held in Chicago, in the Coliseum. Mr. Bryan came to the convention as a delegate, and a pronounced champion of the silver theory. He was still a democrat, and had not accepted the nomination tendered him by the populists. Neither had he been regarded as a prominent candidate for the presidency. He was young, and there were wheel-horses in the party to be rewarded. “Silver Dick," as the Hon. Richard P. Bland, of Missouri, was called, because of his long defense of silver in the house of representatives as a money metal, was one of the most formidable candidates, and Governor Horace Boies, who had succeeded in winning the republican state of Iowa for the democrats, also had a large following. But Mr. Bryan had already achieved fame as an orator, and during the convention he took the platform and made a most brilliant speech in favor of the free coinage of silver. The address so electrified the convention that delegation after delegation voted for Mr. Bryan when the balloting began, and before the roll call was finished it was seen that he was nominated.
Following the nomination of Mr. Bryan began a campaign the like of which had perhaps never been seen in any country. It was full of spectacular features, and there was more eloquence to the square inch than had ever been known before. Everybody turned speech-maker, and few places were regarded as too sacred, and few moments as improper, in which to discuss the momentous questions. On the streets, in railway cars, on steamboats, in hotels, stores, factories, and at the family board the great question was threshed out. The excitement was intense. On both sides the people believed a crisis had arrived. The republicans declared the election of Mr. Bryan meant repudiation of obligations, ruin and national dishonor. The democrats retorted that there could be no repudiation in sticking to the money of the con