Skip to main content

tv   After Words  CSPAN  February 20, 2016 7:01am-8:01am EST

7:01 am
>> next on booktv, karl rove joined us to talk about his book on election of 1896 and why it still matters. he said that with richard brookhiser. this is just under one hour. >> host: today we are here with karl rove, the author of the triumph of william mckinley. he was a senior advisor for president george w. bush and the architect of his election and reelection in 2002004.
7:02 am
as publisher asked me if i would read this book and board it and get. i just wanted to give with what i said. karl rove shows how william mckinley used his watershed election to change his party, the political process and the nation. it all. no, the big things, the backstage maneuvers, the personalities, the hoopla. a great read for historians, political junkies and in the own wild election cycle, america. >> guest: i will pay you for that later. i was awfully generous. >> host: let's introduce a man. sbt 96 games, who was william mckinley and what does he want? >> guest: the most immediate sense he is the governor of the state of ohio and throughout his entire career in the congress from 1876 through 1890 he has
7:03 am
become the leading voice within the republican party for the policy of protective tariffs. that's at the surface of the. governor of the critical battleground state. no president is elected as republican between the civil war in 1904 who is up in court in the state of ohio. as governor he's an immediate prospect for the presidential nomination post but how big is ohio relative to other states? >> guest: it is the fourth largest in the unit. most pico state is new york followed by pennsylvania, illinois and in ohio. interestingly enough, two of those dates have been consistent battleground states in the gilded age politics, new york and ohio. pennsylvania and illinois had leaned republican though in 1892 cleveland carries the state of illinois by three percentage points defeating the incumbent benjamin harrison of indiana.
7:04 am
>> host: what are his ambitions as 1896 begins? >> guest: he wants to become president. this is a vision that sort of, there's some evidence it's been in addition his entire adult life but he gets married in 1871. his bride from one of the founding families, confides in front upon the return from their honeymoon in new york and washington that her husband who has been just and they did for the county attorney's job wants to be president. and she is thrilled by the prospect but his object, the republican party has been beaten in 1892 election. grover cleveland has come an office. mckinley has been the governor is in the country descend into a deep depression and the republicans think the election of 1896 is going to be theirs
7:05 am
and he wants to be the nominee but is not the front runner. he's not the favorite of the party bosses. >> host: the depression happens after cleveland is elected? >> guest: he gets elected in november and by the time he takes office in march the economy is moving downward at a rapid pace. and it's enormously damaging. it's a long lasting and deep depression literally 15% of american workers lost their jobs in all likely by the end of you. we don't have good economic statistics like we have now but we are talking about hundreds of thousands of men being tossed out of their jobs over the course of each and every month. in one day alone in one town in upstate new york 10,000 workers were let go in duchess county. >> host: as bad as 2008 or worse? >> guest: worse in some ways because to some degree these were self-inflicted wounds like we had on the american economic
7:06 am
system in the fall of 2008 with fannie and freddie tracking down our financial stations. some of these were large forces that we suffer through because we were developing country. we forget the american economy in the 1870s, '80s and '90s were dependent upon foreign sources of investment to build factories, to open minds to operate smelters, to build railroads, open of this fertile territory to the west. what happened is a series of international events. failure of the crop in argentina, failure of the bank in london. these things cost for an investor to pull back. and then that accelerated what many blamed as the cause of the recession and the ultimate depression which was a decline in america's gold reserves. the government was getting to the point of $100 billion in gold which was thought to be a minimum amount necessary to sustain the valley of the american currency.
7:07 am
if it dipped below that level as foreigners took their investments, cashed in at the dore gold home to europe, there's a concern of the american dollar would become basically worthless in the american economy would crash uzbek because the dollars bid is backed by gold. >> guest: that's right. we have paper currency but it was a matter of convenience rather than carrying around a pocket full of large gold coins you could carry it around paper money or deduct your business -- conduct your business in paper money. >> host: the economy is in the tank, the republicans are hungry and they're hopeful. who are the front runners? >> guest: the front runner is the speaker of the house from maine. he was an intellectual. at the largest private libraries in the state, 5000 volumes, any of which were in french. he had a french tutor and had a
7:08 am
classic wit. in the run up to the election he talked about the coming election of 1894 midterms and said the democratic losses will be so plentiful that their defeat will be buried in unmarked graves. he was the fellow who once said the party could do worse than nominate someone else for president and they probably will. he had a great wit but he was the candidate backed by the leading figures of the republican party who were to combine is what they were, referred to, the party bosses led by the ec boss of new york former senator thomas collier platt and his running buddy centric way of pennsylvania. they had allies around the country, including one of their principal agents was james clarkson publisher of the "des moines register" the snake named red.
7:09 am
he was always in a column get rid new put ret at the top. development joseph manley who is in a. he was an ally of the intraparty rival blame, the magnetic man who has been secretary of state, senate and congress. also a main. and we have two men from maine who have been lifelong rivals. one of them is now out of politics. in fact, dead but 1896. the other what has taken about what role in the states politics and picked up manley to be his own man. >> host: what is it combines a
7:10 am
vision for winning the election and for the country? >> guest: division is first and foremost what's in it for me? they are very pragmatic people. they wanted somebody who won the general election and to think that can best be figured out that the convention is chaotic and they could hold all the cards and make the decision. what they do this sort of pledge their support to read with the front runner at the leading republican in the country. benjamin harris and the discredit formal president is thought of as a candidate but reid is becoming a speaker of the house endowment dignity. the other part of the strategy is let's go get lots of the sons of in the country who will unite their state delegation and then we'll get together at the convention nobody will have a majority of the delegates. we can get a backroom and carve up the patronage of the federal government to our advantage to unite behind one man who will give us what we want. post a favorite son is a placeholder? >> guest: someone inside the state. some of them thought it could be
7:11 am
candidates. someone has to be the candidate so governor bradley of kentucky, a border state republican which is not frequently seen during this era. he thinks of himself as one. senator graves of minnesota as an expert at four policies is flattered enough to believe he could be one to the governor of new york, morton is put forward as a favorite subject he is a potentially plausible candidate but his principal purpose is to keep every new york republican in the pocket. even if you did like the ec boss as he was called the of of loyalty to the new york governor. the art couple of others who are potentially real candidates, the most prominent which is william allison of iowa who is a workmanlike solid legislator who creates the interstate commerce
7:12 am
commission and as a legislator who gets things done. but most of the our people who think they can be present but can't. uncle shelby, senior senator from illinois who sought the presidency twice before. he's put into the field by the blond boss of cook county republicans was ruled an interesting character. and by john riley tanner, the other republican chairman who fancies himself and does become governor in 1896. >> host: all these players are out for themselves. what is william mckinley out for? >> guest: william mckinley is that to restore prosperity. his belief is that the policy of protective tariffs that he had abdicated in the congress for a great many years is the path to return to prosperity uzbeks who he is not a free trader? >> guest: he is not buddies also not, it's an interesting
7:13 am
protectionist in his attitude, his focus is the american working men. he wants robust domestic market, high wages and production from cheap foreign labor imports. he believes, he's not a defender of high tears for the purpose of making rich people richer. in fact, when he passes the mckinley tariff of 1890 which helps contribute to republican defeat in the house that year and is remembered by many republicans as the thing that brought them defeat, an obstacle for them, in the passage of that he was constantly asking people it's not how much do you need, to get rich, at how much does your industry need in order to be properly protected from unfair foreign competition. economists today a great in all likelihood the protective policies he advocated did not advance america's economic growth beyond what it would have been otherwise. it's hard for us to understand why people so felt so strongly about what they did during the
7:14 am
time. his whole vision was a nationalistic program of economic progress that benefited the american worker. >> host: in those days which are path to the nomination if you are reed or mckinley or any other hopeful, what hurdles do you have to jump to get their traffic that's an interesting question because this becomes the first modern presidential nomination battle. before 1896 what you did is in the parlance of the time she put your fate in hands a difference. you had somebody on your behalf move around the country while he is dead far away from it as possible. he got just a and a couple other states and friends around the country to rally to your cause but you're expected to go into the convention with some journalist since there was a front runner and some since there were other candidates, it didn't do this process ballots at the convention somebody emerged, generally the second
7:15 am
choice. but rarely do the first choice become the nominee. eventually everybody settled by making deals. in 1888, benjamin harris receives the nomination after james g. blaine who was the front runner, he had andrew carnegie's castle in scotland refused to be a candidate. benjamin harris becomes the front runner because he was born in ohio, and he is a former senator from the state of indiana. one of the battleground states, and he's agent makes a deal. stephen calkins of west virginia makes a deal with thomas colyer platt and in return for the combine support plant will be made secretary-treasurer receive all the customhouse patronage. it was out of office in the country was the head of the
7:16 am
customs house in new york city and this was ostensibly his choice. all the patronage jobs connected with the connected to platt. which could make him not only to secretary-treasurer that the next president. >> host: so the process we know how which begins in iowa in january, new hampshire in february, and start before that come you sang before 1896 it's all telescope at the convention? >> guest: yes and what happens is if you got a favorite son, they gather together in unite behind them and quote instruct for the favorite son. either by formally say we are all for fill-in the blank, or simply saying we are sending a delegation proposed of sherman man from ohio. >> host: how does mckinley confront this is the? >> guest: first of all he goes about in a methodical organized fashion. he says i'm going to organize for the primaries, organize for
7:17 am
these conventions like we organized for primaries today. i'm going to identify from my long set of points developed during my years in congress friends inside the states were going to be, my agents and the object will be to organize the local county convention in order to influence the congressional district convention in order to generate conventions at the state level that are dominated by mckinley's man who will not be concerned, he's not concerned with who's on the delegation. off he wants is for that delegation give instructed to vote for him. he doesn't pick and choose who will be on the delegation it does take people and embolden them and authorize them to organize this effort that culminates in hope of victory at the state convention that instructs for him. he begins early. most of the time the maneuvering begins late in the year before the election. so what happened in late 1895 or more likely than early 1896.
7:18 am
but he begins immediately after the 1894 election. you could make the argument he travels the country some 12,000 miles during the 1894 campaign to travel the country to spread his message of protectionism and prosperity. makes a lot of friends and allies want to show up but he begins in early 1895 to assist medical organize the states, and to do so by going on vacation. mark and has a place in palm beach of the time. he is, first of all these misunderstood is not the mastermind of the mckinley effort. he studied a campaign manager. he is a close friend of mckinley's and the man who underwrites his primary campaign and has a successful iron monger and cold magnet from cleveland, ohio. he comes from modest roots. they had a good distribution
7:19 am
company in southeastern ohio and then moved to cleveland and cleveland began to take off and he has a mind for business. he starts out at the very bottom. he's selling tickets and collecting fares on whether steamships edges working as a clerk, working as a delivery man but he rises to the management of his family's firm and then we married into an even wealthier family he take takes over his father-in-law's firm and become an enormously successful businessman. only financial. he ever had was as a young man in the aftermath of the civil war he tries to build an oil refinery and almost loses everything and is forced to sell the refinery at a deep lost with high school classmate named john d. rockefeller. >> host: how do he and mckinley hook up? >> guest: they meet in 1876 though neither one of them remember. mckinley remembers meeting him that he has no memory of making
7:20 am
mckinley. it's involved in a very weird thing. mckinley is giving way to make his first run to the congress and there is a miners dispute in eastern -- western stark county. the miners go on strike and they burned mind and beat badly the superintendent of one of the mines. they are owned by the company that mark had. the arrest 20 some and tried them and nobody can be found if and until somebody pressures william mckinley into stepping forward and defend the miners and he gets all but one of them off. then when they proceed to give him $120 the data collected, which is a big sum of money in those days, he refuses and instead contributed to the relief fund for the families of the miners. thereby starting to grate a lifelong reputation as a friend of the working man. the companies that are pursuing
7:21 am
charges owned by hanna, he is sitting in the courtroom as this case goes on, he is hired the best law firm and we have this young lawyer who has been practicing law for basically 10 or 11 years, in his early '30s, and he takes on the biggest law firm and beats them. but hanna has no recollection because he suffered from attack of the hives and he slathered up with sulfur ointment and so hobbled he can only walk with a king tut as a result he is in constant pain and has no memory of meeting with mckinley. they come together though in eight years late at the ohio state republican convention when mckinley over his objections as elected as a delegate to republican national convention. he doesn't want to go to the national because he is for james g. blaine and hanna is for senator john sherman of ohio. mckinley doesn't want to oppose his chief.
7:22 am
but over his objection he gets sent to the national convention were he supports blame, the ultimate winner. >> host: so the first two encounters there on the opposite side. how did they become friends, allies? >> guest: in 1880 they both go back to the national convention. by this time they have a semi-rivalry going. a third of our character is introducing. the governor of the state in 1888. they go to the national convention and hanna and mckinley are now in support of senator sherman where foraker is trying to make himself be either the presidential nominee or the vice presidential nominee. out of this convention nakedly comports himself in a way that
7:23 am
causes -- mckinley comports himself. at this convention the convention is still made and mckinley has been the leader in the congress on protection. is played a role in the convention of 1884 as a young man. he's demonstrated that maturity and ability to control the crowds. in the 1880s convention third is conversation about him running for president. he is committed to senator sherman and so when word gets out that there's been a movement to draft him, they're sitting and how to room. he grabs an unused telegraph slip, writes on and shares it and says it does continue this if i'm going to say. the next day they start voting on the presidential nominations and a delegate from connecticut gets up and vote for mckinley. the texans say most of the
7:24 am
delegation is ready to go. new jersey says we're ready to go. with his delicate stands up and those were mckinley rises on the floor, stands on a chair to get attention of the chairman of the convention and then we sides would've written on a telegram which is, he does not want anyone to consider him for presidency because he is committed by the convention of republicans in ohio and by his hard to support john sherman for president. this would be a polite on his personal character if anyone were to vote for him. this is astonishing to hanna. here's a man who could potentially swept the convention by simply standing aside and let things go his way because he is clearly, a lot of people second choice which makes him a potential nominee and yet he says no. ken spence in the two days with the convention is in recess brutally pushing his fellow delegates whenever he hears something is going to happen
7:25 am
someone wants to go before he says don't do this. i would rather cut off my right arm than to be the nominee of the party. i would deserve to lose. he wakes up in the middle of the night on sunday night and he hears in the next room some ohio delegates talk about how to get in nominee. he says stop, don't do this. hanna is blown away. he keeps the deal and is passionate about it. it was a matter of character. he committed to sherman and by god nothing was going to stand in the way of that. >> host: so hanna falls in love with this guy. mckinley has another very important assistant ally from chicago. >> guest: he was actually born in ohio but charles dawes graduation moscow and head had o
7:26 am
make his living. mckinley meet him sometime early in 1894 when dogs comes to visit them. he's a solid help you. they meet again in october of 1894 when mckinley stops in lincoln, nebraska, for his camp in stop and the midterm. >> host: why is he so taken with this guy? >> guest: he sees a man who is separate and apart from the gilded age politics. mckinley this event of enormous integrity. he's a man who's looking for the future. he is a key figure of data and not the kind of brutal patronage republican of the gilded age. dawes who is a reformer like this. he is a young lawyer in lincoln, nebraska, has taken on the railroad which he thinks are charging farmers to high price to get the goods to market. he's of reformed republican and he likes what he sees the mckinley. he's sort of tall, his hair is
7:27 am
red and apart in the middle. he practices law in offices in the same office building as another lawyer fight is over the ending william jennings bryan. members of the men's debate and reading club called the roundtable and the two of them often have lunch with a third pal, the rotc instructor at west point first lieutenant named john jay pershing. everybody shows up in the story. dawes make someone in the real estate and banking deals and an investment in a packed house and he decides to become an out of print or and moved to chicago which doesn't jenny of 1895 and what he's going to this by tasha does, get economies of scale and make a lot of money which he proceeds to do post back mckinley has a new strategy for winning the nomination. he's got his loyal, capable supporters. where does he want to take the
7:28 am
party? >> guest: mccaleb has begun to demonstrate he's a different kind republican. in the north the republican party does the party of white anglo-saxon protestant. he realizes that country is changing. our democracy is becoming vastly different. relatively fewer immigrants from england scotland wales and ireland and germany, and compared with more than scandinavia, central and eastern europe and seven year. we have portuguese fisherman, spanish tenors, italian craftsmen, ukrainian tailors. the country is becoming very diverse demographically. mckinley recognizes it. many are catholic and the republican party has inside of it of bias against catholics. the largest protected group is an anti-catholic anti-immigrant group founded in iowa.
7:29 am
it passes a scorecard out on republican-democratic candidates for president and one for the testers are under pressure on the under the control of the papal power. they are big. its 13 million members and they are powerful. >> host: biggest catholic group was irish catholics who have been democrats for a long time. >> guest: and another group, there were some german catholics and some polish catholics but they hated the catholics. there are 60 some thousand members of the apa in ohio. they call him up late on a friday and said he you've got to fire them, they are catholics. they are working for the state
7:30 am
to prison guard. we found that they are catholic and he defied them and replace them with protestants and we'll call you back on monday. mckinley says no religious test. the men keep their jobs. the apa drops mckinley from their ballot that fall. they sent out instructions and asked him to leave the governor's race point. and yet he went by a much bigger majority. catholics take notice of it and to members of the catholic hierarchy in ohio travel the state to parishes and say governor mckinley defended the job so to catholics who work for the state. >> host: the republican party needs catholics and immigrants partly because they have lost a big chunk of their traditional base. >> guest: that's correct. in the south the votes of black republicans and what republicans are being stolen by fraud, deception or violence. in 1896 we had four states in the union that had a black
7:31 am
majority of adult male population. that means if blacks are voting in the south 95-5 for the party of lincoln and yet mckinley does dismal in it one of the states and it's because you take a look at, turnout in the north is 88%, 75, 88% in some states. in the south it runs in the mid '30s. the reason is because essentially from 1873 on there's a systematic effort to wipe out the black vote in the south. >> host: eric pollard says the ku klux klan was the armed auxiliary of the party. >> guest: and they were. south carolina they wore red shirts in order to hide in the blood. there is no election that goes by without violence being perpetrated on a large scale, hard for us to understand today, on black voters in the south.
7:32 am
people being routinely murdered for the simple exercise of the ballot drama was there any pushback nationally trafficked there was an effort that mckinley champions, efforts to take with remaining federal protections for sub elections in 1880s and mckinley is a strong proponent of the. asked the republicans win the white house in 1888, henry cabot lodge provides protection for elections in the south, the democrats label it the force pill and it is defeated by combination of certain republicans from the west who pay the bill but want to hold it hostage to agree to free and unlimited coinage of silver. seven democrats who would oppose any federal interference in what to do in the south. >> host: let's turn to the democratic party. who is contending for that nomination? >> guest: the nomination in 1896 starts in 1893 because as
7:33 am
the economy depends, grover cleveland stands for maintaining the gold standard and does so by cutting deals with wall street and foreign financiers who basically bail out the kind by transferring go to the united states treasury. this makes him unpopular inside the democratic party which has a large green movement, angry at a concentration of wealth of wall street and fueled by this demand for the free and unlimited coinage of silver. >> host: even though cleveland is in a second term he can run again in? >> guest: he can run again. no prohibition. there's a thought that the golden democrats, the cleveland democrats that cleveland will run again. he doesn't want to. at some very early point in the process he decides not to. no later than early 1895 that he doesn't make that clear so there's nobody was allowe allowo merge and that's because it'll is thinking if i'm the goal
7:34 am
democratic, grover cleveland will run. the front-runner for president who emerges as richard park plan for missouri who becomes the leading proponent of free silver. >> host: why is it inflationary? >> guest: the idea would be that rather than setting as we might do now a target for a we will expand the money supply by this percent, instead with free unlimited coinage of silver come together so for my anywhere in the world you can show up at the u.s. meant entering of silver over and you'll be paid 1 dollar of gold for every 16, one unit of gold for every 16 units of silver, 16 to one. that will then be coined into him, made into money and circulate. the problem was the value of gold and silver fluctuated and at the time we're talking to the run of the 1896 election, the
7:35 am
valley of silver, $1 worth of gold would buy you $2 worth of silver. in other words, each dollar of silver was worth about 52 cents of gold. if you created a silver dollar it would have the ballot of a gold dollar and, obviously, bad money chases, good people would hold onto the golden so that we would have inflation thereby. >> host: but that's not bad for debtors. who are the debtors? >> guest: for debtors in america in 1890s our southern farmers who by and large except for the big plantation owners are sharecroppers. what they did is they kill their land either don't have any money. they go to what's called a furnishing merchant at the beginning of the season and he gives you all you need to live on and all you need to put out your crop and then you bring in the crop in the fall and he figures the value and surprise, surprise the value of your crop is less than the money he links you.
7:36 am
so in other words, you are getting 1 dollar deeper in debt. that's what the old phrase comes from. then in the midwest the farms are more lucrative but also to go to the furnishing merchant and many of them have mortgages. mortgages are held by specialized companies or insurance companies not by the normal banks and so forth public is a special private banks, insurance companies or mortgage companies. while we were in a deflationary period, the interest rates being charged are between eight and 14%. you talk about people who are hard-pressed because the people who have a mortgage take in the south or in the midwest. >> host: you have a gold faction which is led by the incumbent president, not clear what's going to come up what he is going to do. and you have dick bland of richard who is the check of the silver force. tell us what happened at the democratic convention chanted in the run up you have the state
7:37 am
conventions and the sober silver democrats decide when i can settle on a candidate. we are going to discourage anybody offering themselves as a candidate. instead we'll focus on two things. one is getting each day to go on record and reputed cleveland economic policies and say -- sent a total of silver convention it takes majority to write the platform, but two-thirds to dominate a candidate the the silverman say we want to get a silver platform and force the candidate whoever he is to agree to the platform because will never get to two-thirds of the convention. we will not nominate a true superman but by god we want to bind into a silver platform. they succeed beyond the expectation. they are within a whisper of getting two-thirds. what stands in the way is an extraordinary pair of victories
7:38 am
in michigan and minnesota. at the last minute cleveland prevails upon political friends in both. his former postmaster general in michigan and his former democratic making minnesota step forward. both of those states are expected to go silver. both end up going gold. >> host: so they're close enough to two-thirds so why doesn't bland walk into it? >> guest: because the goldman said we've got more than one-third of the delegates so what we're going to do is we are going to hold onto that one-third end user for power and influence to pick between the two silver men, the less objectionable. this is all pretty conventional for the test because it will show up, make a deal, end up on multiple outs we will settle the issue. they don't count on william jennings bryan, charles dawes
7:39 am
howl who conceives himself as a presidential candidate. he is at the time 36 years old. he's the youngest man ever nominated by either major political party for president to this day. and he's also the only candidate i can find who thinks of himself as a candidate that nobody else does the day before he was nominated as the candidate. >> host: how does he swing that? >> guest: they go to the convention and the two front runners on the democratic side are silver dick bland and missouri and uncle horace of iowa is a distant second. but there's a big battle over the platform vendor but he knows the platform issue is settled. there's an overwhelming majority of silver men at the convention. punishes going to be how many votes does each side gets and heads of the marketplace out. the last stand of the gold men at the convention. bryant is chosen as the man in
7:40 am
charge of closing the debate on the floor. is completed by accident or the other six actions that to his being selected. in one of which would've gone a different direction he would have been there but these six actions happening in the paint event is in charge of the democrat, the silver men's -- host at the concluding speaker? >> guest: he is jimmy thought to be the opening guy but the other principal speaker is going to talk on this is pitchfork the children of south carolina who wants to be the closer. senator hill objects. what it does is that forces to become a fight over the issue how much time each side by the close, make their final argument.
7:41 am
taliban once longer time to speak so he takes the opening argument, 15 minutes and gives the closing 20 minutes over to what's supposed to be 30 minutes but gets cut to 20 minutes over to william jennings bryan. the final accident occurs just before bryant is ready to speak, and that is why the gold men our closing, superman opens the debate, gold men speaks, gold men speaks, gold men speaks, superman closes. a second gold men stands up. tillman's speech is so disgraceful. he brings up a civil war again. he insults every northern democrat. he excoriates cleveland. he calls this a sexual argument and senator joseph arkansas stands up and says while i wore the color of the south during the civil war, this is not a sexual argument. this isn't argument of mankind. this isn't argument that is national in nature. for one brief moment the silverman and the gold men's
7:42 am
dedicate a basically julian jones on. they hate tillman so much. but finally what happens is the gold men are running out of time at it one more speaker to give his speech to he is complaining about not having enough time. brian overhears it and says to hill, the leader of the gold forces, why do we get each side 10 more minutes? that gives bryant a chance to give a 30 minute speech and a 30 minute speech is a brilliant piece of work that he delivers without a single note having outlined in his mind, having played at the final moment of it several days before at a debate in nebraska that he left chicago with what individual is to pick up a leaking they. he literally come when he finishes giving the speech by saying he says you shall not press down on mankind, crossed the thorns and he takes his
7:43 am
hands, crown of thorns, and he says you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold, holds out his hands, and he finishes and its complete size. he drops his hands and steps back thinking spent a good he thinks he's tanked and the atlanta constitution says the hall was silent for a few moments more. the hall was held in fearful silence for a few moments more and then the place explode. men and women jump to the fee, stand on chairs, scream, cheer, wait anything. the demonstration that is his has got to be one of the great marvels of political convention. it moves this obscure nebraska, who nobody thinks, very few people think is a candidate and virtually no one thinks is a serious candidate extend the nominate the next day. >> host: this sounds like he's coming out of the democratic convention with a powerful momentum.
7:44 am
>> guest: he is. >> host: how does mckinley counter this transfer he doesn't initially. he and hanna appear out on the porch and said the democrats screwed this up, they nominate a complete buffoon. we will win easily. hanna is talked about how he's going to take vacation on his yacht sailing up the coast and doesn't expect he will return before the first of august and no campaign activity need begin until the first of september. this is early july. and what happens is over the next several weeks mckinley put in charge of his campaign headquarters in chicago charles g. dawes and hanna travels to the east and they begin trying to organize and want to campaign and their state parties begin to do these canvases that it undertook in that era and begin to get the bad is that they are
7:45 am
way behind trim with a canvas is what, like an informal poll transfer even more than that. if you conducted a canvas, let's say we are iowa. a guy there was mcmillan. he conducted a canvas which meant that every precinct in iowa had a chairman who ascertain the attitude of every single vote in the precinct reported it to the county, reported to thi this day. he would not just of a poll of 800 or 1300 iowans chosen by random. he had a bowl of every single i went through the precinct chairman was responsible for figure out where were they. the republicans discovered that 25 or 30% of the voters had left them under in brian's camp which would've been a huge loss for the industrial midwest. this awakens me came along with a keen and russia met who doesn't like it much, benjamin harrison. by mid-august in preparing his
7:46 am
speech but acceptance of republican nomination in late august he has made the decision other do something about confronting the free silver issue. he wanted to avoid it, turned away from it, downplay. telling everybody don't worry the issue will dissipate. he tells one of his friends, a judge, in a month there will not be talking about this issue. he said in a month there will not be talking to anything else. he's right. by the end of august he figures it out and start to candidly find a way, spends two-thirds of his acceptance speech talking about free silver. >> host: but he is against free silver he is for gold? >> guest: he's been a striver on the issue. one of the first big votes he makes in 1870 after his election in 1876, in 18781 of the first major vote he makes this for the
7:47 am
passage of the bland allison silver act which would institute bimetallic currency with silver but insufficient for the free silverman. he's tried to start it throughout the 1880s. he's got a lot of farmers in his district and he's got a lot of people who are smalltime merchants who thinks there's too little money post so there's a sudden conviction that? >> guest: no. look at, he does believe in and on as many. he doesn't oppose free silver but on a lot of controversial questions politicians like to avoid them. they emphasize the things and unifies people. protection unified labors were working in these mines and smelters. this was an issue that brought people into the republican camp. were as a result supports the republican camp. all the western states walked out. montana, utah, nevada, idaho,
7:48 am
colorado all walk out of the convention. one of mckinley's strongest sudden supporters, the only republican senator from the south prichard of north carolina almost walked out because the pool of the free silver issue. this issue split the republican party. he does so with the help of how utterly whose the former head of the largest labor union in america and he gives a speech in york sponsored by the new york mckinley league and begins to describe from this raucous crowd at cooper union what's important to have a currency backed by gold rather than a currency backed by silver. >> host: so we have our two nominees, their two positions.
7:49 am
how does each man campaign? >> guest: percival bryan has one problem he needs to do with which is he's got the support of the populist party but they nominate their own vice presidential running mate he has this problem of the status of conciliatory august the they got 1 million votes in 1892. he wants to take the democrats who voted for cleveland, put them with a pot those who voted for general weaver, james weaver in 1892 and thereby sink the republican. he's nacaa a democratic running mate and a populist running mate and he's got to finesse the issue of how do i get the populist running off the ticket in battleground states where can't afford the boat to be split. he decides he's going to storm the country in a fashion never been done before. is going to get on the train and campaign the country. he has three major trips he makes across the country.
7:50 am
never, this is the first time it's ever happened. there's been occasions increased elections in which a candidate michael on the road and neighbor -- maybe go to a gathering of some sort but the number of times they spoke on the road, less than a dozen. it was sort of a front porch campaign in 1888, benjamin harrison basically had about 80 speeches he gave the visiting delegations to indianapolis over the course of a four-month period, but nobody had ever done what bryan which is get on the train and go someplace. is an amazing testament to his courage and his endurance. most days until october 7, in august and september until october 7 he is generally making his own train reservation, writing in a common car, grabbing a sandwich at the depot someplace and hoping that when
7:51 am
he got to the end of the line somebody would pick them up and have a hotel reservation sometimes he's got a private car. he makes a trip to kentucky and tennessee, virginia and a portion of d.c. in late september and he has a private rail car provided him by sometimes he's just riding in the middle of, the head of the populist campaign, young senator from north carolina writes is contagious, chairman of the democratic national committee, senator johnson of arkansas and says you've got to get him a private railcar. i saw this with my own eyes. we took a late train to baltimore because they wan wantd into the disjunction into work at 8 a.m. to we waited until 2 a.m. to switch trains. got them on the train and rather than catching the express we got the little train every handful of people. you're going to kill them if you keep doing this. if you have a private car he can
7:52 am
fall asleep in the car, they moved on, but they can pick them up in the middle of the night, wake up refreshed, have a place to wash his face, changes clothes, get a meal. house of representatives what doedoes mckinley to transferring mckinley is being pressed to go on the road. once panic sets in its unstoppable. hanna is panic. he's beginning to believe we have a race on her hands and he keeps pressuring mckinley you got to go on the road. mckinley says look, i can't do that. if i go on the road he's going to get at the trapeze and i'll have to mindy kim to if i go on the road, i've been on the road before, i know what it's like. hanna said his friend to go talk to them. he sensed a friend to go talk to him and finally mckinley says i've got to think before i speak. what happens is people are already showing up in groups to see the major so somebody come
7:53 am
and i think if somebody is mckinley says let's make that my routine. only let's get organized. invite the people we want but let's have them come. if it's a critical vote from a critical state let's know they're coming, have them send what they want to say an event so we can edit it. we will have been met at the station, take them to the courthouse square, have them there, advance and all kinds of entertainment to keep them occupied. when the momen moment comes whei finish me with the last delegation we know how long it takes them to march up market street, they can come along, have an organized program. they can say what they want to say. they will give me a gift. i will thank them for coming. if i have time i will shake anybody's hand and we go on to the next group.
7:54 am
this becomes campaigning on an industrial scale. 750,000 people come to camp ohio. on some weekends 100,000 people come in groups of varying sizes and it's like a regimented thing. they show up, go to the town square. the women go shopping. and then pick up cigars. merchants do well again. sometimes the community takes special groups and feeds them at the tabernacle. they have appropriate drinks for them in the if you are what you got up and disabled. if you are drunk you got a cup of coffee and a sandwich. it's and daschle in scale, unified to organize and deliver to he knows exactly what he wants to say. the message is tailored to the individual claims and repeated back in the hometown papers and repeated by them when they come. i saw the major and here's what he said. >> host: which of these two men do you think addressed more people? >> guest: i'm convinced by the numbers that bryant's more people. the estimated two to three many
7:55 am
people attend his rallies. he would go everywhere and there were people. he attracted spectators. mckinley attracted supporters. people went to see -- it was targeted. he in essence created an army. is campaign was based around this principle, we want to create an army of people who service the circuits and advocates. they organize everybody. they have groups for blacks and germans. some women could vote in western states. they organize traveling salesman, the commercial club because these are people who traveled widely, spoke well and knew lots of people. there was a big craze is sweeping the country. lots of young men were falling into it and it was great excitement. so they decided to tap it, bicycles trying to tell us what happens on election day. >> guest: on election day mckinley wins the northeast with there's not a single count in the northeast that goes for bryan. mckinley when 75% of the vote.
7:56 am
he takes all the critical battleground states, traditional, new york, new jersey, connecticut, ohio and indiana fall his way. he wins most of the critical battleground states in the midwest. he hoped to win nebraska and kansas and fails to he loses the rocky mountain states. he loses the south as expected. all the states of the old confederacy falls to the democrats. he narrowly loses missouri and kansas are hurt by angel division a penny sweets oregon and narrowly california on the west coast with 51% bu of the ve which no have done since the reelection of grant in 1872 anti-wednesday, majority in the electoral college. >> host: what are the consequences for the two-party system? >> guest: it brings into the
7:57 am
republican party a combination of immigrants and new voters particularly laborers which gives the republicans dominance for the next 36 years up to the depression. republicans hold the house for 26 out of 36 beers. the white house for 28 and the senate for 30. billy cundiff is now is when they divide among themselves in 1912. they hold more governors and more state legislators then we do today. the our republican mayors left and right because mckinley created this new coalition of industrial workers, small town farmers who have their own farms, and the traditional small business hours of the republican party as well as union veterans. it becomes an unstoppable coalition for over three decades. >> host: you credit mckinley with real political creativity
7:58 am
and foresight. who since his time has been like him? has been a been anybody that consequential? >> guest: i think fdr was. he was deliberately set up to both of pilots from some republican coalition. blacks began to move into the democratic party under him. jews who would become element in the republican party after the 1896 campaign, a populist movement had a lot of very angry anti-semitic voices who bryan did not steal but as a result a lot of a jewish voters in america became republican. he reached into the back. italians put in republican drifted back into the democrats under roosevelt. >> host: anyone else besides fdr? >> guest: ronald reagan in his own way. politics has changed but if which are lookin looking at whod
7:59 am
on principle but was able to change politics i think those be the two i would pick more than anyone else. >> host: this is an entertaining book. it's packed with information. it has the big scenes, wonderful little details. i will end with my favorite detail which was question is who's going to give the opening invocation at the republican convention. dimension the american protective association, the protestant crew. is it going to be a protestant minister or a catholic priest? how do they finesse this point? >> guest: a rabbi gives the application to a jewish rabbi gives the opening invocation which is what a thing else i would suspect a great many of those anti-catholics were also anti-jews. it's an enormous signal on in charge. they have protestant ministers after but mckinley as a result of this attitude becomes the first republican presidential candidate to receive the
8:00 am
endorsement of a major figure in the catholic hierarchy who delivers an explosive lecture by the rabbi is there to give the invocation. >> host: thanks very much. >> guest: thank you. ..

21 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on