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"Here they are, these great feats: A war of a hundred days, with many victories and no defeats, with no prisoners taken from us, and no advance stayed; with a triumphant outcome startling in its completeness and in its world-wide meaning. Was ever a war more justly entered upon, more quickly fought, more fully won, more thorough in its results ? Cuba is free. Spain has been driven from the Western hemisphere. Fresh glory has come to our arms and crowned our flag. It was the work of the American people, but the republican party was their instrument.
“So much for the past. We are proud of it, but we do not expect to live upon it, for the republican party is pre-eminently the party of action, and its march is ever forward. The deeds of yesterday are in their turn a pledge and proof that what we promise we perform, and that the people who put faith in our declarations in 1896 were not deceived, and may place the same trust in us in 1900. But our pathway has never lain among dead issues, nor have we won our victories and made history by delving in political graveyards.
"We are the party of today, with cheerful yesterdays and confident tomorrows. The living present is ours; the present of prosperity and activity in business, of good wages and quick payments, of labor employed and capital invested; of sunshine in the market-place and the stir of abounding life in the workshop and on the farm. It is with this that we have replaced the depression, the doubts, the dull business, the low wages, the idle labor, the frightened capital, the dark clouds which overhung industry and agriculture in 1896. This is what we would preserve, so far as sound government and wise legislation can do it. This is what we offer now.”
In such an atmosphere of optimism the convention proceeded to adopt the platform on which the candidate should ask the suffrages of the American electorate. That document set forth that four years before—
“When the people assembled at the polls after a term of democratic legislation and administration, business was dead, industry was paralyzed, and the national credit disastrously impaired. The country's capital was hidden away and its labor distressed and unemployed.
“The democrats had no other plan with which to improve the ruinous conditions, which they had themselves produced, than to coin silver at the ratio of 16 to 1. The republican party, denouncing this plan as sure to produce conditions even worse than those from which relief was sought, promised to restore prosperity by means of two legislative measures—a protective tariff and a law making gold the standard of value.
“The people, by great majorities, issued to the republican party a commission to enact these laws. This commission has been executed, and the republican promise is redeemed. Prosperity, more general and more abundant than we have ever known, has followed these enactments. There is no longer controversy as to the value of any government obligations. Every American dollar is a gold dollar, or its assured equivalent, and American credit stands higher than that of any other nation. Capital is fully employed and everywhere labor is profitably occupied.
"We endorse the administration of William McKinley. Its acts have been established in wisdom and in patriotism, and at home and abroad it has distinctly elevated and extended the influence of the American nation. Walking untried paths and facing unforeseen responsibilities, President McKinley has been in every situation the true American patriot, and the upright statesman, clear in vision, strong in judgment, firm in action, always inspiring, and deserving the confidence of his countrymen.”
The platform further declared in favor of a renewal of “allegiance to the principle of the gold standard”; of a law to effectually restrain and prevent all conspiracies and combinations intended to restrict business, to create monopolies, to limit production or to control prices; the protection policy was endorsed, and legislation in favor of the interests of workingmen advocated; help to American shipping, pensions for soldiers, maintenance of the civil service system, construction of an isthmian canal; and endorsement of the treaty of Paris were also favored.
This brought the convention to its third and last day's session, and it was a veritable love feast. Factional fights and all friction as to policy had been swept away. All that was now necessary was the naming of the ticket. Twenty thousand people again crowded the convention hall, and the great building was shaken again and again by the enthusiastic applause of the multitude.
Alabama yielded to Ohio when the call of states began, and Senator Foraker, to whom had been accorded the honor of nominating the president, arose and said:
“Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Convention: Alabama yields to Ohio, and I thank Alabama for that accommodation. Alabama has so yielded, however, by reason of a fact that would seem in an important sense to make the duty that has been assigned to me a superfluous duty, for Alabama has yielded because of the fact that our candidate for the presidency has in fact been already nominated. He was nominated by the distinguished senator from Colorado when he assumed the duties of temporary chairman. He was nominated again yesterday by the distinguished senator from Massachusetts, when he took the office of permanent chairman, and he was nominated for a third time when the senator from Indiana yesterday read us the platform.
“And not only has he been nominated by this convention, but he was also nominated by the whole American people. From one end of this land to the other, in every mind, only one and the same man is thought of for the honor which we are now about to confer, and that man is the first choice of every other man who wishes republican success next November. Upon this account, it is indeed not necessary for me or anyone else to speak for him here or elsewhere. He has already spoken for himself, and to all the world.
"He has a record replete with brilliant achievements; a record that speaks at once both his performances and his highest energy. It comprehends both peace and war, and constitutes the most striking illustration possible of triumphant and inspiring fidelity and success in the discharge of public duty."
The nomination was seconded by Governor Roosevelt, Senator Thurston, John W. Yerkes, of Kentucky, George Knight, of California, and Governor Mount, of Indiana. When Senator Foraker pronounced the name of the president, there was a great demonstration on the part of the convention. Someone threw into the delegate's division a great bundle of red, white and blue plumes, made of pampas grass. The deiegates caught them up, and with flags, handkerchiefs and state banners waving, shouted themselves hoarse. The whole convention, 906 delegates, voted for President McKinley.
Then came the nomination for vice-president. The wisdom of the convention had decided on Governor Roosevelt, and all other candidates had withdrawn from the contest. Though strongly against his inclination, the governor had agreed to accept the position. Colonel Lafayette Young, of Iowa, nominated the governor, and Butler Murray, of Massachusetts, Gen. J. M. Ashton, of Wisconsin, and Senator Depew, of New York, seconded the nomination. At the close of the convention, Senator Depew said:
“We have the best ticket ever presented. We have at the head of it a western man with eastern notions, and we have at the other end, an eastern man with western character—the statesman and the cowboy, the accomplished man of affairs, and the heroic fighter. The man who has proved great as president, and the fighter who has proved great as governor. We leave this old town simply to keep on shouting and working to make it unanimous for McKinley and for Roosevelt."
The democrats again nominated William J. Bryan, but the country was not more ready to accept this young man than it had been in 1896.