U.S. Election of 1884 (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: The Democratic Party breaks the Republican hold on the presidency.
Summary of Event
The 1884 presidential contest between James G. Blaine and Grover Cleveland was one of the dirtiest in U.S. history. The parties were evenly split as far as voter loyalties were concerned, and the race turned on the personal character of the two major party nominees. The presidential election was won by Grover Cleveland, a former mayor of Buffalo, New York, and the governor of New York—the first successful Democratic candidate in twenty-four years. The result was close: A shift of six hundred votes in a single state would have reversed the outcome. During a time of electoral stalemate between the parties, such narrow margins in the popular vote were typical. Public excitement in the campaign ran high, and spectacular episodes swayed the electorate throughout the campaign.
When the Republicans met in Chicago on June 3, 1884, to nominate their candidate, the front-runner was the most popular figure of his time, James G. Blaine of Maine. The incumbent president, Chester Alan Arthur, had little support. He had been an adequate president after succeeding the assassinated James A. Garfield in 1881, but the party regulars and the rank and file of the “Grand Old Party” (GOP) preferred the charismatic Blaine. Unfortunately, Blaine also had weaknesses. There were charges that he had used his offices for personal...
(The entire section is 1668 words.)
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