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Twenty-eighth American presidential election of 1896

1896 election map

No attribution available, from Wikimedia Commons


The 1896 election took place on Tuesday, November 3, 1896.


  • Republican party
  • Democratic party
  • Final tickets

  • Republican party
  • Democratic party
  • Campaining & major issues

    The past three elections (1884, 1888 and 1892) were pretty insignificant today. However, the election of 1896 was a bit different. Grover Cleveland's second term had not gone as well as his first. The economy had slipped into the Panic of 1893, and though historians still debate whether it was caused by Cleveland or Benjamin Harrison, it is a pattern in history that whoever is in office when something happens is who gets blamed for it. Therefore, Cleveland and the Democrats became unpopular as the Governor of Ohio and former Civil War veteran William McKinley became more of a star. The Democrats knew they needed a good, charismatic candidate to rival McKinley, so they chose the US Representative from Nebraska, William Jennings Bryan. Bryan was able to get the Democrats hopeful that they would win, as he traveled across the United States, giving multiple speeches every day. In fact, he was once gave over thirty speeches in one day. His voice would (understandably) become hoarse, and when it happened, he would say that he left his voice in the last place he was at in order to fire up the people. While Bryan was able to travel across the country giving all these speeches, what was McKinley doing? Well, he mostly just stayed at his house. McKinley had a huge advantage which was his campaign manager. Mark Hanna, McKinley's campaign manager, had actually tried to get McKinley to run in the previous 1892 election. But now that McKinley was running, Hanna was able to organize McKinley's speeches to be at his house and even invented a form of campain finance still used today as the standard. The populist party, which gained momentum the previous election, nominated William Jennings Bryan, as well as the small but known Silver party. It was a tight race, and a lot of people thought Bryan would win. Would they be right?!

    Electoral college & turn-out

    The electoral college increased to 447 electors; 224 needed to win. 13,936,957 people voted in this election.


  • First place (winner): William McKinley & Garret Hobart
  • Second place: William Jennings Bryan & Arthur Sewall
  • 2.02% of the population voted for other candidates.
  • Other attributions (listed from top to bottom)

    Gillespie, Metzgar & Kelley, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

    The Henderson Lith. Co., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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