Most consequential US presidential election between 1876 and 1892?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,200
SoCal
#11
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.
Did Blaine ever actually criticize Chinese exclusion at any point after Garfield's assassination, though?

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.
Garfield won that battle, didn't he?

Anyway, my own inclination is that he will listen to Blaine on this issue--which likely means Garfield supports Chinese exclusion in at least some form (whether for 5 or 10 years if not the full 20 years).
 
Feb 2016
42
United States
#12
Did Blaine ever actually criticize Chinese exclusion at any point after Garfield's assassination, though?



Garfield won that battle, didn't he?

Anyway, my own inclination is that he will listen to Blaine on this issue--which likely means Garfield supports Chinese exclusion in at least some form (whether for 5 or 10 years if not the full 20 years).
Blaine need not have bothered, it was a moot point post-1882. And as far as official history goes, he lodged no complaint when it did happen as far as I'm aware.

And Garfield did win, but mostly because Roscoe Conkling took himself out by trying to flounce the Senate in an ill timed move to look like the underdog that backfired. Once the Stalwart leader politically unmanned himself, Garfield won by default. Given he did lean heavily on Blaine's advice, both before and after, it's likely Garfield would have followed Blaine's advice if he had been in Arthur's place, though it's unlikely he wouldn't have at least tried making a token effort to dig in his heels.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,200
SoCal
#13
Blaine need not have bothered, it was a moot point post-1882. And as far as official history goes, he lodged no complaint when it did happen as far as I'm aware.
Had opposition to Chinese exclusion been strong enough, though, the ban on Chinese immigration could have been scrapped in 1892 instead of being continued. Thus, I strongly disagree with you that it was a moot issue in 1882. In fact, in 1888, Benjamin Harrison retracted his previous opposition to the Chinese Exclusion Act. If it was already a moot point, then Harrison might not have actually bothered doing this.

And Garfield did win, but mostly because Roscoe Conkling took himself out by trying to flounce the Senate in an ill timed move to look like the underdog that backfired. Once the Stalwart leader politically unmanned himself, Garfield won by default.
OK.

Given he did lean heavily on Blaine's advice, both before and after, it's likely Garfield would have followed Blaine's advice if he had been in Arthur's place, though it's unlikely he wouldn't have at least tried making a token effort to dig in his heels.
What would this token effort have consisted of?
 
Feb 2016
42
United States
#14
Had opposition to Chinese exclusion been strong enough, though, the ban on Chinese immigration could have been scrapped in 1892 instead of being continued. Thus, I strongly disagree with you that it was a moot issue in 1882. In fact, in 1888, Benjamin Harrison retracted his previous opposition to the Chinese Exclusion Act. If it was already a moot point, then Harrison might not have actually bothered doing this.

What would this token effort have consisted of?
Harrison objected mostly on constitutional grounds originally in 1882, but did so as a senator. As President, he retracted his objections due to seeing things from that perspective, he was now in Arthur's place and could see more clearly where Arthur had the constitutional right to make such arrangements, as Presidents are allowed to make arrangements that alter foreign policy with the advice and consent of the Senate, which Arthur clearly got and acted upon despite his own objections. Further, Arthur conceded to the will of the Senate (which made it clear they'd defeat a veto if he continued to try fighting the issue) and signed the Exclusion Act into law with some modifications.

This wasn't Harrison first reversal as President, he opposed the Rivers and Harbors bill Arthur opposed, but later came to support similar measures if his own districts were included.


If the pattern held with Garfield initially being a Radical Republican and then turning moderate held, he likely would have objected to the discriminatory nature of the ban, but otherwise would have been forced to concede to it for political reasons.
 
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