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20th Century Us History - the Election of 1896

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The election of 1896

Christopher Bailey

20th Century US history

To better understand the election of 1896 it is important to understand the events leading up to the presidential election. The year is 1893 and Grover Cleveland is president of the United States, in this year great change was coming to the United States mainly an economic depression causing most people especially farmers and ranchers to demand change in Washington. During this time period the federal government was weak making them powerless to combat the economic woes that were facing the country (Goldfield, et al., 2011).

Political parties began to change as during this time partisan politics began mainly into two parties the Democrats and the Republicans. After Pres. Johnson was impeached and Pres. Grant allowed Congress to do his presidential duties the office of the presidency was considered more administrative position then a position of public or legislative power which calls Pres. Cleveland to be powerless against the depression of 1893. With each election causing a shift in power in Congress caused a constant strain on the House and Senate and times between Congressmen, this caused Congress to do inefficient (Goldfield, et al., 2011).

Now the year is 1896 and the president of the United States will be elected, the Republicans nominate Ohio Gov. William McKinley and the Democrats were split between the gold standard and the silverites . The silver Democrats nominated William Jennings Bryan and the gold standard Democrats switch sides and went with McKinley. This is the first time that one of the major political parties and defected and joined the other party. With this defection is tilted the scales in McKinley's favor. The election was close as McKinley received only 51% of the popular vote and Bryan received 47% of the popular vote (Goldfield, et al., 2011).

McKinley took office in 1897 and unlike his predecessors he had a definite program protecting tariffs, money, and the expansion overseas. William McKinley brought power back to the office of the presidency and under his administration prosperity began to come back the United States of America. This prosperity was brought on by the discovery of gold in mass quantities in a Alaska, Australia, and South Africa. He is also responsible for increased tariffs in the currency act of 1900 both of which help bring back prosperity to the United States (Goldfield, et al., 2011).

The election of 1896 brought many changes including the dissolution of the Populist Party. The government became more progressive which brought along a new era for this country. Also after the election, the Republican Party became the dominant party in need of stalemate between Democrats and Republicans that had been going on for decades



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