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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (May 22, 1903)
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MAY 22, 1903.
The Commoner has pointed out the neces
sity for faithful adherence to the principles of the
democratic party. It has insisted that a victory
which would betray the people, as they were "be
trayed by the victory of 1892, would be more dis
astrous to the party than defeat, because without
accomplishing anything foi the country it would
leave the party weaker for future contests. It
has shown that a party must desire something
more important than the distribution of patron
ago to be entitled to public confidence. The last
time patronage was dispensed among democrats
it corrupted and led out of the party a large
proportion of thoso who received the patronage
the party can well pray to be spared from another
distribution of that kind. But the reorganizes
are constantly asserting th .t to win is the im
portant thing to be considered, and that they,
the reorganizers, hold the key to success. While
this is a low plane upon whjch to discuss a
question, The Commoner is prepared to meet
them, even upon this plane, and to show by ex
perience Hitter experience that the Clevelandiz
ing of the democratic party would mean complete
disaster rather than victory. Let us review this
In 1892 Mr. Cleveland carried twenty-two
states, as follows: Alabama, Arkansas, Connec
ticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Ind
iana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi,
Missouri, New Jersey, New York, No. Carolina, So.
Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vlrginia,West Virginia
and Wisconsin, and received eight electoral votei
out of nine from California, five out of fourteen
from Michigan, one out of three from North Da
kota, and one out of twenty-three from Ohio. Hef
had a popular plurality over the republican candi-'
date of 400,000. He went into office on the 4th
of March, 1893, and immediately surrounded him
self with a gold standard cabinet, largely selected
by the great corporations, and began his system
of proscription against the democrats who rep
resented their constituents upon the money ques
tion. He refused to call congress together in ex
traordinary session to consider the tariff ques
tionthe issue that had been paramount in the
campaign but at the request of the financiers
called congress together in August to consider a
bill framed by John Sherman a year before a
bill indorsed by Wall street and supported by a
larger percentage of the republican party than of
the democratic party. To secure the passage of
this bill he used promises of patronage, and re
warded with official position those who deliber
ately betrayed their constituents on this issue.
By this subserviency to Wall street and by
hfs scandalous contracts and negotiations with
syndicates, he made the money question the para
mount issue, and there is much reason for be
lieving that he advised that attempt at the co
ercion of borrowers which, carried too far, re
sulted in the panic of 1893.
In the fall of 1894 we had a congressional
election throughout the Union and a state elec
tion in most of the states. Mr. Cleveland's admin
istration was the issue in that campaign, and his
financial policy was the most important item of
his administration. The Wilson bill had been
passed (it became a law without his signature)
during the summer, but it had not been in opera
tion long enough to become the paramount issue
in that campaign. What was the result of the
election in 1894? Mr. Cleveland was president;
bis influence was dominant in the party, in both
senate and house, and he had control of the na
tional committee through which he distributed
Below will be found the states with the ma
jorities given at that election. The figures are
taken from the New York World Almanac of 1895.
State " Democrat Republican.
Fldrida ..." 25,300
Georgia, ...-.;........ 21,164
Idaho :.. ."...
Louisiana 7 42,082
JMaine W.t '. ......
Maryland .. .
Michigan -. ......
Missouri .' ......
New Jersey .
New Hampshire ......
North Dakota .'.
Ohio ..;... ......
South Carolina 22,229
South Dakota '
Tennessee v. 748
Vermont .' . .-
Nebraska (fusion) 3,202
Nevada (fusion-silver) 1,362
On congressional vote.
Populist and republican fusion.
In eight states where no state election was
held tho vote on the congressional ticket Is taken.
From this table it will be seen that only eleven
states out of the forty-five Alabama, Arkansas,
California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Missis
sippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Vir
ginia were carried by the democrats, and of tho
eleven only one, California was a northern state,
and the democratic majority there was only 1,206.
Missouri went republican for the first time sinco
the war; Kentucky, represented in the cabinet by
John G. Carlyle, went republican by 1,047 on the
congressional vote, and elected five republican
congressmen out of eleven. Maryland went re
publican on tho congressional vote. Illinois went
republican by a larger majority than it did in
1900. Michigan went republican by over a hun
dred thousand, and Ohio went republican by a ma
jority of 137,000. Connecticut, the homo of Mr.
Cleveland's friend, Benedict, went republican by
17,000. New Jersey, Mr. Cleveland's present
home, went republican on the congressional vota
by 48,000. New York, with Mr. Hill as the can
didate for governor, went republican by 159,000,
and Pennsylvania gave a republican majority of
241,000. Iowa gave a republican majority of 79,
000, Massachusetts of 65,000, Minnesota of 60,000,
Wisconsin of 53,000, Indiana of 44,000 and Maine
The sum of all the majorities cast for the
democratic ticket in tho eleven states only
amounted to 300,744, while the majorities cast for
the republican ticket In thirty-two states amounted
to 1,383,277. Tho net republican majority was,
therefore, 1,082,533; this was nearly twice as
largo a popular majority as tho republican ticket
had In 1896, when Mr. Cleveland helped the repub
licans, and was about 20 per cent larger than the
popular majority of the republicans in 1900.
The crushing character of this defeat can be
realized when we remember that it was a change
from nearly 400,000 in 1892 to 1,082,533 In 1894.
Tho fusion majority of 3,202 in Nebraska can
not be considered a Cleveland majority, because
the Cleveland democrats ran a ticket of their
own against the fusion, ticket Neither can the
silver majority of 1,362 in Nevada be counted as
a Cleveland victory, for It was antagonistic to Mr.
Cleveland. The republican majority In North
Carolina was secured by a fusion between the
republicans and the populists, but both of theia
opposed Mr. Cleveland. So much for the ma
jorities cast in the states.
According to the World Almanac, above re
ferred to, the congress elected in 1892 stood 219
democrats to 127 republicans, a majority of 92.
The congress elected In 1894 contained only 104
democrats, a falling off of 115, or more than half,
while the republicans had 244 members,' nearly
double what they had in tho congress before.
There were twenty-tour states which did not
elect a single democratic representative to con
gress: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho,
Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minne
sota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hamp
shire, Now Jersey, North Dakota, Orogon, Rhode
Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, West
Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. In fact, out
side of tho southorn states, there were, all told,
only eighteen democrats electod to congress (Mis
souri being counted with tho northern slates sho
olectcd five democratic members to congress out
of fifteen) and of thoso one came from California,
two from Illinois, one from Massachusetts, five
from New York, flvo from Missouri, two from Ohio
and two from Pennsylvania,
Tho reorganize think, 'that their causo Is
popular In Now England, New York and Now
Jorsoy, and yet when the peoplo had a chance to
express themselves on Cleveland's policy tho
democrats only olected six congressmen (five in
New York and one in Massachusetts) in all that
territory. If It Is thought that Cloveland is pop
ular In tho states between tho Ohio river and the
Missouri, let It bo remembered that tho demo
cratic parj-y did not carrv a single state in that
section in 1894, and oxcludlng Missouri, sent only
four membors to congress, although in 1892 he car
ried Illinois. Indiana, and Wisconsin, and secured
ono olectornl vote in Ohio and five in Michigan.
On another page will bo found a cartoon
which appeared about Thanksgiving time in 1891
in Judge and Is reproduced by tho kind permls
slon of that nnper. This cartoon represents Clove
land and Hill ns tho "chief figures at a Thanks
giving dinner of crow and exhibits to perfection
tho spirit of exultation manifested among repub
licans at that time. Tho verv papers which are
now RnpnVlner In such complimentary terms of
Mr. Cleveland were then loud in their denuncia
tion. ThePo figures show the demornl Nation of the
party under Mr. Cleveland's leadership in 1894,
and whnt hnq been plnco done to make
him popular? If tho reorganise Insist that tar
iff reform i tho 'bruo now. whv did not tariff re
form save the nnrtv in 1894? If the people hove
such a profound reverence for Mr. Cleveland, why
did thev not show It In 1894? Tf he is popular now
because ho helped tho republican tickot In 1896,
how can thaf act bo expected to make him pop
ular with both republicans and democrat? Why
would tho republicans support Mr. Cleveland In
preference to a republican who agrees with them
on ovrv ouestlon? And whv would the
democrats feel more kindly to Mr. Cleveland now,
since ho has openlv hnlped the republican party,
than thev did in '94 when they opposed his prin
ciples, but still recognized h as a member of
tho party? If the trust question Is to he the Is
sue, how can the reorganizers expect to hold the
votes of both the friends and the opponents of
the trusts? And if Imperial Ism Is to bo the Is
sue, how can they expect to poll more votes with
a gold bug anti-Imperialist who was silent in 1900
than with a silver anti-imperialist who fought Im
perialism in 1900? How can they expect to come
nearer to victory with a man who Is in harmony
with the democratic position on a few questions
than with one In harmony with the domocratlo
position on all tho questions?
Tho reorganizers are always talking about
the independent vote, but it must be remembered
that tho independent vote is of no value unless it
is added to the democratic vote. The election of
1894 shows (and it was Mr. Cleveland's last ap
pearance as a democrat) that he could not get
enough independents to make up for the demo
crats who were alienated.
The democrats who think more of "success"
than they do of democratic principles can find
food for thought in the history above reviewed.
If they want victory, let them learn from th
failures of tho past that right is, after all, ex
pedient The democratic party was defeated, .t
is true, in 1896, yet after four years of defeat it
was stronger than it was in 1894, two years after
a Cleveland victory.
Mr. Cleveland left the party demoralized by
his conduct and disgraced by his record. Can th
party afford, even as a matter of expediency, to
travel again the road that it traveled from 1892
to 1896? Is it not betteraye, Is it not necessary
that It should resolutely defend democratic
principles and espouse the cause of the peoplo,
trusting to tho intelligence and patriotism of the
people for accession from the ranks of those who
really sympathize with tho masses, but either
havo been led into the republican party by mif
understanding or havo been held in tho repub
lican party by allegiance to tho party name?
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