Political Songs (2 screens)

Party Politics
  • Politics was the most popular form of local recreation,

More popular than baseball, vaudeville, or circuses.
  • Political torchlight parades, picnics, and speeches were exciting.
  • Close political party balance.
  • [Commentators compared the 2000 election results to that during the Gilded Age.
  • Neither political party gained clear control for any sizable time.
  • Presidential elections were close
  • Swing states (New York, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois) made the difference.
  • Political party choice dependent on religion and ethnicity.

Republican party

  • Party of evangelical Protestants.
  • Believed government could be an agent of moral reform
  • World must be purged of evil
  • Legislation necessary to protect people from sin.
  • Opposed parochial schools.
  • Supported prohibition of liquor.

Republicans and the Bible

Democratic party

Party of immigrant Catholics and Jews.
Opposed interference by government in

Matters of personal liberty
Use of leisure time
Celebration of Sunday.
  • Supported parochial schools
  • Opposed prohibition of liquor


Election of 1896,_1896

Major realigning election in U.S. history
Winner: William McKinley—a Republican

McKinley conducted a traditional "front porch" campaign
McKinley supported the gold standard.
Republican platform emphasized
  • Federal government support of the economy
  • The virtues of the urban–industrial society
  • Progress and prosperity: a full dinner pail
  • Loser: William Jennings Bryan—a Democrat

Bryan broke with tradition; traveled across the country
Bryan supported free silver
Bryan argued for an older America
  • Farms as important as factories,
  • Rural and religious life outweighed sinfulness of the city
  • Common people, not corporations, still ruled.
  • Election of 1896 realigned national politics.

Old split: North versus South

Election of 1896
The "Bloody Shirt"
Vote as you shot
Reconciliation after Civil War
Lost Cause
Connection to monuments discussion these days

New split:

East versus West
City versus farm


Election of 1896

1896 Presidential Campaign (Vassar)
My Website Spotlight blog post

To get some context, read the portion regarding the Election of 1896 from this biographical material about William McKinley.

Try to understand the 1896 material on its own terms, but--to a brief extent--consider the current 2012 Presidential campaign dynamics as a comparison.

William McKinley

Mark Hanna

The Republicans, Mark Hanna, and Labor

William Jennings Bryan

William Jennings Bryan (Today in History, Library of Congress)

1896 Election (New York Times, On This Day)

Election of 1896:

Political Parties in the 1896 Presidential election campaign:

The Republican Party (main page)

The Democratic Party (main page)

The Populist Party (main page)

Bryan and the Bible
Bryan, Religion, and the Silver Question

McKinley Supporters and the Bible

Racial Prejudice

Plessy versus Ferguson
(Today in History, Library of Congress)


Women suffrage

Women in the Campaign


The Currency Issue

Check out these sites; both gold and silver fluctuate in price:

Gold Standard

March 14, 1900 | U.S. Officially Adopts Gold Standard -

In Rise of Gold Bugs, History Repeats Itself -

Back to a Gold Standard? - Room for Debate -

FDR takes United States off gold standard — This Day in History — 6/5/1933

Farmers and Laborers

Uncle Sam
Here is a more complete explanation of the origin of the term "Uncle Sam":


Civil War and Slavery

Lynchings and Jim Crow in the South
Plessy versus Ferguson (1896)

Sectional Interests

US Foreign Relations
Spain and Cuba; Turkey and Armenia

Hamidian Massacres


Can Bernie Sanders keep socialism alive? [read both pages]

Political interpretation of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz


McKinley Tariff


Remember to use Google Images for persons, events, newspaper headlines

William McKinley (Miller Center) [Read both of these links]

1896 Election (New York Times, On This Day)

Bryan's Cross of Gold speech

Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” Speech

William Jennings Bryan bio (LOC)

William Jennings Bryan - A Cross of Gold

William Jennings Bryan (Vassar)


William Mckinley (Miller Center, University of Virginia)

William McKinley documents on Imperialism
[This is excellent]

60-Second Presidents
William McKinley

William McKinley obituary (New York Times)

William McKinley (Foreign Affairs issues)

McKinley Administration (Chronicling America, Library of Congress)

McKinley Assassination

September 6, 1901| President McKinley Assassinated -

On This Day: President McKinley Fatally Shot by Anarchist

McKinley assassination (Today in History, Library of Congress)


Theodore Roosevelt (Miller Center, University of Virginia)
Life Before the Presidency
Domestic Affairs
Foreign Affairs

60-Second Presidents
Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt (Today in History, Library of Congress)

Theodore Roosevelt (Bruno Mars' "24K Magic" Parody)

Presidential politics Theodore Roosevelt

New Nationalism

Motto of the Theodore Roosevelt presidency

  • TR believed government should direct national affairs
  • Government should coordinate and regulate big business
  • Government should not destroy big business.
  • Government should act as an umpire.
  • Roosevelt was a Republican, party of big business.

He was thus in an awkward position.

Theodore Roosevelt, "The New Nationalism," address, 1910

Theodore Roosevelt: New Nationalism (NHC)

Obama comparison to TR speech (Washington Post)

Regulation of trusts

Trusts and monopolies

Sherman Anti-Trust Act (1890)

Major issue in the Roosevelt presidency

  • Industrialization had led to a concentration of great power.
  • Large–scale business combinations were then called "trusts";

Today we would call them conglomerates or multinationals.
  • By 1904, for example, trusts controlled much of American business:

6 large financial groups dominated the railroad industry;
Rockefeller's Standard Oil owned 85% of the oil business.
  • No one really clear on how to deal with trusts:

Let trusts alone since big business is an inevitable part of progress
Distinguish between good and bad trusts
Regulate good trusts (if so, who should be the regulators)
Break up bad trusts into smaller companies.
Theodore Roosevelt sought to regulate the abuses of the worst trusts—the railroads, oil companies, and the meatpacking monopolies.
We still do not have a solution.
We vary between regulation and deregulation

President William Howard Taft (1909-1913)

Life Before the Presidency
Campaigns and Elections
Domestic Affairs
Foreign Affairs

60-Second Presidents
William Howard Taft

Dollar Diplomacy