Most consequential US presidential election between 1876 and 1892?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
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SoCal
#1
What would you personally say was the most consequential US presidential election between 1876 and 1892? As in, where were the differences between the various candidates the greatest and likely to be translated into significant policy differences?
 
Feb 2016
42
United States
#2
I'd say Benjamin Harrison vs. Grover Cleveland. Both were ideological opposites on many economic issues that drove a sharp wedge between consumers, importers, and general industry.

They also had sharply divided stances on the gold and silver question that were only resolved much later, but were firmly established by that electoral campaign.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,200
SoCal
#3
I'd say Benjamin Harrison vs. Grover Cleveland. Both were ideological opposites on many economic issues that drove a sharp wedge between consumers, importers, and general industry.

They also had sharply divided stances on the gold and silver question that were only resolved much later, but were firmly established by that electoral campaign.
Was Harrison pro-silver? Because in 1896 the GOP nominated the Goldbug McKinley.
 
Feb 2016
42
United States
#4
Was Harrison pro-silver? Because in 1896 the GOP nominated the Goldbug McKinley.
Harrison leaned toward gold, but tried to keep the silver crowd somewhat happy, since that was a contentious issue and he wanted to straddle the fence as much as possible without putting the money question on too unstable a footing. He managed to attain a tenuous peace with his policy on that, which Cleveland tossed over a cliff due to being a hard gold advocate.

McKinley had to fix again what Cleveland broke, but he was aided by the gold/silver issue not being as dire after he was elected.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,200
SoCal
#5
Harrison leaned toward gold, but tried to keep the silver crowd somewhat happy, since that was a contentious issue and he wanted to straddle the fence as much as possible without putting the money question on too unstable a footing. He managed to attain a tenuous peace with his policy on that, which Cleveland tossed over a cliff due to being a hard gold advocate.

McKinley had to fix again what Cleveland broke, but he was aided by the gold/silver issue not being as dire after he was elected.
I thought that the gold-silver issue was at its direst in 1896?

Also, do you think that Hancock (the 1880 Dem candidate) would have pushed through civil service reform during his Presidency? Also, if Garfield lives, do you think that he would support Chinese exclusion like Arthur did?
 
Feb 2016
42
United States
#6
I thought that the gold-silver issue was at its direst in 1896?

Also, do you think that Hancock (the 1880 Dem candidate) would have pushed through civil service reform during his Presidency? Also, if Garfield lives, do you think that he would support Chinese exclusion like Arthur did?
It reached it's peak and immediately petered out as an American political issue as a lot of gold was found immediately after McKinley took office. I consider Harrison and Cleveland's administration to be when the issue was at it's height because it was far more uncertain then and contributed to economic downturn both had to worry about that McKinley largely did not.

As for civil service reform, it was likely inevitable either way, Gilded Age politics were reaching the end of their rope in terms of people being willing to put up with their excesses, so it likely would have happened either way.

As for the Chinese exclusion, unknown to be honest. Arthur initially opposed it, but decided to concede to half the exclusion period demanded instead of the full twenty years after he realized he wasn't going to win on that.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,200
SoCal
#7
It reached it's peak and immediately petered out as an American political issue as a lot of gold was found immediately after McKinley took office. I consider Harrison and Cleveland's administration to be when the issue was at it's height because it was far more uncertain than and contributed to economic downturn both had to worry about that McKinley largely did not.

As for civil service reform, it was likely inevitable either way, Gilded Age politics were reaching the end of their rope in terms of people being willing to put up with their excesses, so it likely would have happened either way.
OK.

As for the Chinese exclusion, unknown to be honest. Arthur initially opposed it, but decided to concede to half the exclusion period demanded instead of the full twenty years after he realized he wasn't going to win on that.
Do you think that Garfield would have done the same thing that Arthur did? After all, he did express support for Chinese exclusion in 1880, did he not? I know that the Morey Letter was discovered to be a forgery but that fears of Garfield being too pro-Chinese might have nevertheless cost him both Nevada and California in 1880.
 
Feb 2016
42
United States
#8
Do you think that Garfield would have done the same thing that Arthur did? After all, he did express support for Chinese exclusion in 1880, did he not? I know that the Morey Letter was discovered to be a forgery but that fears of Garfield being too pro-Chinese might have nevertheless cost him both Nevada and California in 1880.
Arthur was opposed to Chinese immigration mostly because it was an extension of his opposition to bigotry in general. Garfield was considered somewhat more moderate, but still was fairly anti-bigot in his own right. If I had to flip a coin, I'd say it landing on him opposing exclusion would have been better than even odds, especially since he agreed with James Blaine on free trade and opening doors to foreign countries as opposing to restricting their access.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,200
SoCal
#9
Arthur was opposed to Chinese immigration mostly because it was an extension of his opposition to bigotry in general.
Opposed to Chinese immigration or opposed to Chinese immigration restriction?

Garfield was considered somewhat more moderate, but still was fairly anti-bigot in his own right. If I had to flip a coin, I'd say it landing on him opposing exclusion would have been better than even odds, especially since he agreed with James Blaine on free trade and opening doors to foreign countries as opposing to restricting their access.
Please keep in mind, though, that Blaine did in fact support Chinese exclusion in 1879-1880.
 
Feb 2016
42
United States
#10
Opposed to Chinese immigration or opposed to Chinese immigration restriction?



Please keep in mind, though, that Blaine did in fact support Chinese exclusion in 1879-1880.
Good point, forgot that part about Blaine, but given how Chinese immigrant exclusion might have harmed any trade deals (and it did hurt the economy when enacted), it's fairly possible pragmatism would have motivated Garfield to at least make the attempt to oppose it, though his chances of success likely would have been as bad as Arthur's.

Then again, Garfield did back off on freedman rights when he realized even most Republicans were throwing in the towel, so he might have considered it too high a political price to pay, especially since he had already been warring with the Senate Stalwart faction just prior to his assassination.
 
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