parties  &  platforms leaders themes JOURNALS FEATURES

John Altgeld Susan B. Anthony William J. Bryan Andrew Carnegie Grover Cleveland
Eugene V. Debs Mark Hanna William R. Hearst Mary Lease William McKinley
J. P. Morgan John M. Palmer Joseph Pulitzer Elizabeth Cady Stanton Henry Teller
Benjamin Tillman Booker T. Washington Tom Watson William Allen White


The Republicans, Mark Hanna, and Labor


Mark Hanna

Mark Hanna, as McKinley's campaign manager, has been championed as both a revolutionary and an opportunist. The truth lays between the two. Hanna brought to the campaign an extensive knowledge of business and its practices, which complemented McKinley's familiarity with the political world. Hanna took advantage of this combination and ran a tight, well-ordered campaign utilizing his and McKinley's skills to their highest potential.

It was Hanna's involvement with business, though, that created the loudest outcry. As a businessman before his involvement with politics, Hanna was seen both as a friend to the working class and as their worst enemy. In Hanna's biography, Herbert Croly states that if an employee had a grievance, Hanna "always heard patiently and considered fairly what they had to say." His peers found him to be kind and reasonable in his dealings with laborers, as well as open to suggestions and ideas from them. Yet others did not see this side and characterized Hanna as anti-union and anti-workingman. His labor record was reviewed by the Central Labor Union and the Labor Congress and found to be unsatisfactory.

The Republican Party took a moderate stance on labor. In their platform, only one section specifically mentioned the worker: "We favor the creation of a National Board of Arbitration to settle and adjust differences which may arise between employers and employed engaged in inter-State commerce." They wanted to avoid situations such as the Homestead and Pullman strikes, which cast an unfavorable light on both sides of the picket line. Hanna is quoted as telling labor: "Don't organize in the spirit of antagonism; that should be beneath your consideration." The workers were expected to behave themselves and solve their problems with employers in a business-like manner.

This policy, on paper, sounded good. But the Republicans did not hold true to their words. Hanna's fundraising campaign focused on two main cities-- Chicago and New York. It was there that he found the majority of his money for McKinley. The donations came from men such as Carnegie and companies such as Standard Oil. These prominent business men and institutions did not want any violence either, and were thus willing to support the Republicans.

Hanna's willingness and desire to take money from such interests contradicted the idea of fairness the Republican Party was trying to display. The working class was not willing to trust or vote for a party which did not respect the wage earner's interests. Hanna's debatable reputation as a friend to unions did not help the party's image either. His prominence as a Republican leader forced these contradictions to the forefront of the campaign, leaving many in doubt as to his and the party's true feelings towards the labor vote.

by Spence Holman, Vassar '99


Mark Hanna

"Secretary Bausch of the Central Labor Union yesterday read to that body a letter that he had received from the Cleveland Central Labor Union in regard to the labor record of Marcus A. Hanna. The Secretary of the Cleveland Central Labor Union wrote that Mr. Hanna had wrecked the Seaman's union of the lower lake regions, that he had smashed the union of his street railway employees, and refuses to allow them to organize. Further, Mr. Hanna had assisted in destroying the mineworker's unions of Pennsylvania, and had tried to break up the carpenter's unions of Cleveland by employing non-union men on his mansion at a critical time last Spring, when the eight-hour law was being put into effect."

—New York Times, 7 September 1896


"The Republican party stands for honest money and the chance to earn it by honest toil."

—William McKinley, in The Republican Campaign Textbook, 1896


"Don't organize for any other purpose than mutual benefit to the employer and the employee. Don't organize in the spirit of antagonism; that should be beneath your consideration. If you are the stronger or the abler, much less excuse you have to show resentment, because the other side is simply asking that they have their share...If we can by any method establish a relation of mutual trust between the laborer and the employer, we shall lay the foundation stone of a structure that will endure for all time...It is all wrong to suppose that the laboring element of this country is not ready and willing to join in this movement. I speak from experience. I have found the labor organizations ready and willing to go more than half way."

—Mark Hanna, quoted by Samuel Gompers in Labor and the Employer,1920


SOURCES

  1. Croly, Herbert. Marcus Alonzo Hanna: His Life and Work. New York: Macmillan, 1912.
  2. Gompers, Samuel. Labor and the Employer. New York: E.P. Dutton and Company, 1992.

© 2010 Rebecca Edwards, author of New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905 by Rebecca Edwards, Oxford University Press


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Chronology

Major events of the campaign,
in cartoon and story. (Click date)


  • Feb 27: People’s Advocate: Reading Tillman's Speech
  • Mar 19: People’s Advocate: Pitchfork
  • Apr 4: The Ram’s Horn: Rescued
  • Apr 15: Sound Money: History Repeats Itself
  • Apr 25: The Ram’s Horn: The Stranger at Our Gate
  • May 28: Prohibitionist’s convention, Pittsburgh, PA
  • June 16: Republican convention, St. Louis, MO
  • June 21: Denver New Road: Cleveland's Romance
  • June 28: L.A. Times: Bucking a Wall
  • July 4: Socialist convention, New York, NY
  • July 11: Democratic convention, Chicago, Illinois
  • July 9: Rocky Mountain News: A Soliloquy
  • July 11: Harper’s Weekly: Gold Bugs
  • July 12: L.A. Times: The Old Lady and Her New Wheel
  • July 16: People’s Advocate: McKinley's Evil Sprit
  • July 18: Harper’s Weekly: Altgeld and Bryan
  • July 22: Silver convention, St. Louis, MO
  • July 25: People’s Party convention, St. Louis, MO
  • July 22: Rocky Mountain News: Wall Street's Private Studio
  • July 25: Harper’s Weekly: Farmer McKinley
  • July 25: Judge: The Silver Candle
  • July 27: Chicago Record: Bryan's Tightrope
  • Aug 5: Rocky Mountain News: The Plain English of It
  • Aug 6: Sound Money: Spain and Rothschilds
  • Aug 8: McKinley accepts Republican nomination
  • Aug 9: Denver New Road: Bryan's Romance
  • Aug 12: Bryan accepts Democratic nomination
  • Aug 13: American Non-Conformist: Farmer Hanna
  • Aug 15: Rocky Mountain News: Bryan the Lion
  • Aug 16: L.A. Times: Aesop's Fox
  • Aug 18: Rocky Mountain News: Hanna the Wizard
  • Aug 20: Sound Money: The Cross of Gold
  • Aug 20: L.A. Times: Popocratic Witches
  • Aug 22: The Ram’s Horn: A Double Burden
  • Aug 29: Harper’s Weekly: McKinley the Veteran
  • Aug 29: Labor Advocate: Look at This
  • Aug 30: St. Louis Globe Democrat: Dime Museum
  • Sept 2: National (Gold) Democratic convention, Indianapolis, IN
  • Sept to Nov 1: McKinley front-porch campaign, Canton, OH
  • Sept 3: New York Journal: Li Hung Chang
  • Sept 5: Harper’s Weekly: The Crown of Thorns
  • Sept 5: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Just the Bare Facts
  • Sept 6: L.A. Times: Comrades in Arms
  • Sept 6: St. Paul Pioneer Press: A Bryan Dollar
  • Sept 8: Early election day in Arkansas and Vermont
  • Sept 9: Rocky Mountain News: John Bull
  • Sept 10: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Arkansas and Vermont
  • Sept 11 to Nov 1: Bryan travels 13,000 miles by train, stump-speaking around the nation.
  • Sept 11: St. Paul Pioneer Press: The Divorcee
  • Sept 11: St. Louis Globe Democrat: Uncle Sam Diagnoses
  • Sept 12: Labor Advocate: Their Argument Misses Fire
  • Sept 12: The Ram’s Horn: Building Up His Business
  • Sept 12: Harper’s Weekly: Populist Supreme Court
  • Sept 12: New York Journal: Hanna's Funds
  • Sept 13: Boston Globe: The Silver Dog
  • Sept 13: L.A. Times: Uncle Sam's Circus
  • Sept 14: L.A. Times: Populist Pandora
  • Sept 14: Rocky Mountain News: Playing Upon a Single String
  • Sept 17: Rocky Mountain News: Chinese Immigration
  • Sept 18: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Against Turkey
  • Sept 18: Rocky Mountain News: A Horrible Suspicion
  • Sept 19: Judge: Bryan's Cross
  • Sept 19: Labor Advocate: How They Love The Farmers
  • Sept 19: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Election-Year Friend
  • Sept 20: Boston Globe: Writ of Replevin'
  • Sept 20: L.A. Times: Populist Delilah
  • Sept 20: L’Abeille de Nouvelle Orleans: The Sultan Laughs
  • Sept 20: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: John Bull's Theft
  • Sept 21: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The Robber And His Victim
  • Sept 24: L.A. Times: Resurrecting Secession
  • Sept 24: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Treachery
  • Sept 25: Daily Inter-Ocean: Democratic Jonah
  • Sept 26: Harper’s Weekly: Silver Bullfight
  • Sept 26: L.A. Times: For Sale
  • Sept 26: National Reflector: Rings On The Hog
  • Sept 26: Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Bicyclist Bryan
  • Sept 29: L.A. Times: Poor Circulation
  • Oct 1: Pioneer Press: Silver Trust Hog
  • Oct 3: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Workingman's Friend
  • Oct 4: Raleigh New and Observer: Hanna and Dixon
  • Oct 6: Election Day in the state of Florida (not all states voted on the first Tuesday in Nov).
  • Oct 6: Chicago Times: X-Ray of Bryan's Brain
  • Oct 6: Pioneer Press: Silver Conversation
  • Oct 6: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Florida's Lifeline
  • Oct 8: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Democratic Florida
  • Oct 8: New York Journal: Confident Hanna
  • Oct 10: Harper’s Weekly: Three Witches
  • Oct 10: The Coming Nation: The Worker's Treadmill
  • Oct 11: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Resurrection
  • Oct 13: New York Journal: Hanna and Workers
  • Oct 13: St. Louis Globe Democrat: Bryan as Jack Cade
  • Oct 13: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The Gold Balloon
  • Oct 15: Coxey's Sound Money: Uncle Sam Enslaved
  • Oct 15: Rocky Mountain News: Elected McKinley
  • Oct 16: Boston Globe: Bryan the Salesman
  • Oct 17: Coming Nation: Labor Exploitation
  • Oct 20: L.A. Times: Burning Cross of Gold
  • Oct 21: The Coming Nation: Socialism
  • Oct 22: Sound Money: The Old Party Scale
  • Oct 22: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Hanna's Crown of Thorns
  • Oct 24: Harper’s Weekly: Altgeld and Guiteau
  • Oct 25: Daily Inter-Ocean: Bryan's Balloon
  • Oct 25: Omaha World Herald: Getting Women to Register
  • Oct 27: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Hanna, Trusts, and Morgan
  • Oct 28: Puck: A New Civil War
  • Oct 30: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Hanna in Lehigh Valley
  • Oct 31: Republicans announce “Flag Day,” then argue with Democrats and Populists over meaning of the flag
  • Oct 31: Harper’s Weekly: Democratic Wind-Up Toys
  • Oct 31: New York Journal: Buncombe Brigade
  • Oct 31: The Ram’s Horn: Ignorance, Stupidity, and Fraud
  • Nov 2: McKinley wins presidential election
  • Nov 2: L.A. Times: Clown Bryan
  • Nov 4: L’Abeille de Nouvelle Orleans: Knock-Out Punch
  • Nov 4: St. Paul Pioneer Press: Elephant on the Silver Pillow
  • Nov 5: Sound Money: Prediction for 1900
  • Nov 14: Judge: Republican Tam O'Shanter
  • Nov 14: Coming Nation: Our Farmers Situation
  • Dec: Overland Monthly: Uncle Sam Looks Abroad
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