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1884 Presidential Election (A Soldier's Honor)

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1880 Flag of the United States 1888 › ›
United States presidential election, 1884
November 4, 1880
149px-WinfieldSHancock 154px-JamesGBlaine
Nominee Winfield Scott James G. Blaine
Party Democratic Republican
Home state Pennsylvania Maine
Running mate William Hayden English John A. Logan
Electoral vote 286 115
States carried 25 13
Popular vote 5,396,717 4,331,444
Percentage 53.7% 43.2%
Results1884PresidentialElection
Presidential election results map. Blue denotes states won by Hancock/English, Red denotes those won by Blaine/Logan. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.
President before election
Winfield Scott
Democratic
Elected President
Winfield Hancock
Democratic

The United States presidential election of 1884 was about as peaceful as the previous election, though there was some mudslinging. On November 4, 1884, President Winfield Hancock defeated Republican former United States Senator James G. Blaine of Maine in a landslide for re-election.

Nominations

Republican Party nomination

Republican candidates:

  • James G. Blaine, former U.S. senator from Maine
  • George F. Edmunds, U.S. senator from Vermont
  • John A. Logan, U.S. senator from Illinois

The Republicans convened the 1884 Republican National Convention in Chicago with former US Senator and former Speaker of the House James G. Blaine of Maine, and Senator George F. Edmunds of Vermont leading the contest. Blaine led on the first ballot, with Arthur in second, and Edmunds in third. This order did not change on successive ballots as Blaine increased his lead, and he won a majority on the fourth ballot. After nominating Blaine, the convention chose Senator John A. Logan of Illinois as the vice-presidential nominee.

Famed Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman was considered a possible Republican candidate, but ruled himself out with what has become known as the Sherman pledge: "If drafted, I will not run; if nominated, I will not accept; if elected, I will not serve."

Democratic Party nomination

Democratic candidates:

  • Winfield S. Hancock, President of the United States from Pennsylvania

As Democrats convened in Chicago in July 1884, Winfield Hancock faced no opposition to his renomination.

Equal Rights Party

Dissatisfied with resistance by the men of the major parties to woman suffrage, a small group of women announced the formation in 1884 of this third party. Belva Lockwood, an attorney in Washington, D.C., agreed to be its candidate even though most women in the United States did not yet have the right to vote. She said, "I cannot vote but I can be voted for." She was the first woman to run a full campaign for the office (Victoria Woodhull conducted a more limited campaign in 1872). The Equal Rights Party had no treasury but Lockwood gave lectures to pay for campaign travel. She won fewer than 5000 votes.

Prohibition Party

The Prohibitionists chose their third Presidential ticket with John St. John for President and William Daniel for Vice President. The straightforward single-issue Prohibition Party platform advocated for the criminalization of alcoholic beverages.

General election

Campaign

The issue of personal character marked this campaign. Former Speaker of the House James G. Blaine had been prevented from getting the Republican presidential nomination during the previous two elections because of the stigma of the “Mulligan letters”: in 1876, a Boston bookkeeper named James Mulligan had located some letters showing that Blaine had sold his influence in Congress to various businesses. One such letter ended with the phrase "burn this letter", from which a popular chant of the Democrats arose - "Burn, burn, burn this letter!" In just one deal, he had received $110,150 (over $1.5 million in 2005 dollars) from the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad for, among other things, securing a federal land grant. Democrats and anti-Blaine Republicans made unrestrained attacks on his integrity as a result.

In contrast, Winfield Hancock had done much to improve his image as a puppet, taking a major stand in regard to foreign relations. This was also added to the remaining granduer that emmenanted from his former military history during the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War.

In the final week of the campaign, Blaine's campaign suffered a catastrophe. At a Republican meeting attended by Blaine, a group of New York preachers castigated the Mugwumps. Their spokesman, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Burchard, made this fatal statement: “We are Republicans, and don't propose to leave our party and identify ourselves with the party whose antecedents have been rum, Romanism, and rebellion.” Blaine did not notice Burchard's anti-Catholic slur, nor did the assembled newspaper reporters, but a Democratic operative did, and Cleveland's campaign managers made sure that it was widely publicized. The statement energized the Catholic vote in New York City heavily against Blaine.

In addition to Rev. Dr. Samuel Burchard's statement, it is also believed that John St. John's campaign was responsible for creating Hancock's relatively large victory margin in New York. Since Prohibitionists tended to ally more with Republicans, the Republican Party attempted to convince John St. John to drop out. When they failed, they resorted to slandering him. Because of this, he redoubled his efforts in upstate New York where Blain was vulnerable on his prohibition stance, taking away votes from the Republicans.

Results

Presidential Candidate Candidate Home State PV Count PV % Electoral Count Running Mate Running Mate's Home State Running Mate's Electoral Vote
Winfield S. HancockDemocraticPennsylvania4,628,48153.7%286William Hayden EnglishIndiana286
James Gillespie BlaineRepublicanMaine4,261,93743.1%115John Alexander LoganIllinois115
Benjamin Franklin ButlerGreenback/Anti-MonopolyMassachusetts175,0961.7%0Absolem Madden WestMississippi0
John Pierce St. JohnProhibitionKansas147,4821.5%0William DanielMaryland0
Others 3,0190.0% -Others -
Total 10,049,754100%401 401
Needed to Win 201 201

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