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A History of the Republican Party by Platt

Blaine to a delegation of clergymen


first applied derisively, but

afterwards accepted by the Independents as a party name. They were not strong in numbers, but as the campaign drew near its close and it was seen that the election would be very close, the seriousness of the Republican revolt was felt. The entire campaign was marked with great personal bitterness, and charges of corruption and dishonesty were made against both candidates; against Mr. Blaine because of his alleged connection with the Little Rock Railroad matter in 1876. This accusation was brought to the people by the publication of the Mulligan letters September 16, 1884, but the charge was without foundation. The defection of the Mugwumps and the bitter personal attacks had the effect of making Mr. Blaine's friends more enthusiastic in their work for him, and he probably would have won the contest had it not been for the unfortunate utterance of Dr. Burchard in New York City, six days before the election, at a reception by Mr. Blaine to a delegation of clergymen, in which the Democratic Party was referred to as one whose antecedents have been "Rum, Romanism and Rebellion." This remark was dishonestly attributed to Mr. Blaine, and unquestionably lost thousands of votes, because the accusation could not be refuted satisfactorily in the few days remaining before the election. New York, with its thirty-six electoral votes, was lost by the narrow margin of 1149 popular votes, and the election went to the Democrats. A Democratic House was also elected. The electoral vote gave Cleveland
and Hendricks 219 and Blaine and Logan 182. The popular vote was: Cleveland 4,874,986, Blaine 4,851,981, Butler 175,370, St. John 150,369.

Mr. Cleveland was inaugurated March 4, 1885, and the country had a Democratic President for the first time since Mr. Buchanan was inaugurated in 1857, counting the administration of Mr. Johnson as Republican. Mr. Cleveland's first term of office reached from March, 1885, to March, 1889, and was marked by no legislation or events seriously affecting the condition of the great parties. There was a liberal use of the veto power, and the Democratic Party was split into two factions over the tariff question, one wing demanding free trade and the other tariff for revenue only, with incidental protection. The first session of the Forty-ninth Congress met December 7, 1885, and owing to the death of Vice-President Hendricks, John Sherman was elected President pro tem. of the Senate. John G. Carlisle, Democrat, was elected Speaker of the House. Owing to the fact that the House and the Senate were controlled by different parties there was no party legislation during the sessions of the Forty-ninth Congress, and the same may be said of the Fiftieth Congress, which opened its first session on December 5, 1887. The third annual message of President Cleveland, read at the opening of this Congress, declared for free trade, and this became the slogan of the Democratic Party, the House passing the Mills Tariff Bill, which was rejected by the Senate. As Mr. Cleveland's term drew to a close it was announced that he would be a candidate for re-nomination. In the Republican Party there was no certainty as to who would receive the nomination. Mr. Blaine announced that he would not be a candidate, and it was felt that the nomination would probably go to John Sherman. The declaration of Mr. Cleveland in favor of free trade afforded a direct issue in 1888, and the Republicans accepted it promptly by declaring for a protective tariff.

[Illustration: Benjamin Harrison.]

CHAPTER XVII.

HARRISON.

"No other people have a government more worthy of their respect and love, or a land so magnificent in extent, so pleasant to look upon, and so full of generous suggestion to enterprise and labor. God has placed upon our head a diadem, and has laid at our feet power and wealth beyond definition or calculation. But we must not forget that we take these gifts upon the condition that justice and mercy shall hold the reins of power, and that the upward avenues of hope shall be free to all the people."


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