United States presidential election, 1892

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United States presidential election, 1892

← 1888 November 8, 1892 1896 →

All 444 electoral votes of the Electoral College
223 electoral votes needed to win
Turnout 74.7%[1]
  Grover Cleveland - NARA - 518139.tif Pach Brothers - Benjamin Harrison.jpg James Weaver - Brady-Handy.jpg
Nominee Grover Cleveland Benjamin Harrison James B. Weaver
Party Democratic Republican Populist
Home state New York Indiana Iowa
Running mate Adlai Stevenson I Whitelaw Reid James G. Field
Electoral vote 277 145 22
States carried 23 16 5
Popular vote 5,556,918 5,176,108 1,041,028
Percentage 46.0% 43.0% 8.5%

Presidential election results map. Red denotes states won by Harrison/Reid, Blue denotes those won by Cleveland/Stevenson Light green denotes those won by Weaver/Field. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.

President before election

Benjamin Harrison

Elected President

Grover Cleveland

The United States presidential election of 1892 was the 27th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 8, 1892. It witnessed a re-match of the closely contested presidential election in 1888. Former Democratic President Grover Cleveland and incumbent Republican President Benjamin Harrison both ran for election to a second term. In 1888, Cleveland won the popular vote over Harrison, but lost in the electoral college, thus losing the election. In this re-match, Cleveland won both the popular and electoral vote, thus becoming the only person in American history to be elected to a second, non-consecutive presidential term. The new Populist Party, formed by groups from The Grange, the Farmers' Alliances, and the Knights of Labor, also fielded a ticket; they polled best in the West, winning in five states and taking a total of 22 electoral votes.

The campaign centered mainly on economic issues, especially the concept of a sound currency. Cleveland was a proponent of the gold standard, while the Republicans and Populists both supported bimetalism. Cleveland also ran on a platform of lowering tariffs (the Republicans were strongly protectionist) and opposed the Republicans' 1890 voting rights proposal.

As of 1892, Cleveland was one of only two people (the other being Andrew Jackson) to win the popular vote in three U.S. presidential elections. In the twentieth century, Franklin Delano Roosevelt also achieved this distinction (and exceeded it by winning the popular vote in four consecutive elections as of 1944). Cleveland also became the first Democrat to be nominated by his party three times, a distinction matched later only by Franklin D. Roosevelt and William Jennings Bryan.


Republican Party nomination

Harrison/Reid campaign poster

Benjamin Harrison's administration was widely viewed as unsuccessful, and as a result, Thomas C. Platt (a political boss in New York) and other disaffected party leaders mounted a dump-Harrison movement coalescing around veteran candidate James G. Blaine of Maine, a favorite of Republican party regulars. Blaine had been the 1884 nominee when he was beaten by Democrat Grover Cleveland. Privately Harrison did not want to be renominated for the Presidency, but he remained opposed to the nomination going to Blaine who he was convinced intended to run, and thought himself the only candidate capable of preventing such an occurrence. Blaine however did not relish another fight for the nomination and a rematch against Cleveland at the general election, nor did he want it. His health had begun to fail and three of his children had recently died, Walker and Alice in 1890, and Emmons in 1892. Blaine refused to actively run, but the cryptic nature of his responses to a draft effort fueled speculation that he was not averse to such a movement. This was not helped when Benjamin Harrison curtly demanded that he either renounce his supporters or resign his position as Secretary of State, with Blaine choosing the latter a scant three days before the National Convention. A boom began to build around the "draft Blaine" effort with supporters hoping to cause a break towards their candidate.[2]

Senator John Sherman of Ohio, who had been the leading candidate for the nomination at the 1888 Republican Convention before Harrison's nomination, was also brought up again as a possible challenger. Like Blaine however he was averse to another bitter battle for the nomination and "am in respect like the rebels down South, want to be let alone." This inevitably turned attention to Ohio's Governor William McKinley who, despite his feelings toward Harrison and popularity among the base, was indecisive as to his intentions. He was not averse to receiving the nomination, but did not expect to win it either. However, should Blaine and Harrison fail to attain the nomination after a number of ballots, he felt he could be brought forth as a harmony candidate. Despite Mark Hanna's urgings McKinley would not openly put himself out as a potential candidate, afraid of offending Harrison and Blaine's supporters, while also feeling that the coming elections would not favor the Republicans.[3]

Nonetheless, the president's forces had the nomination locked up by the time delegates met in Minneapolis on June 7–10, 1892. Richard Thomas of Indiana delivered Harrison's nominating speech. Harrison was nominated on the first ballot with 535.17 votes to 182.83 for Blaine, 182 for McKinley, and the rest scattered. McKinley had protested when the Ohio delegation had thrown its entire vote in his name, despite not being formally nominated, but Joseph Foraker, who headed the delegation, managed to silence him on a point of order.[4] With the ballots counted, many observers were surprised at the strength of the McKinley vote, nearly having overtaken Blaine. Whitelaw Reid of New York, editor of the New York Tribune and recent U.S. Ambassador to France, was nominated for vice-president. The incumbent Vice President, Levi Morton, was supported by many at the convention including Reid himself, but did not wish to serve another term.[4] President Harrison also did not want to keep Morton on the ticket.

Democratic Party nomination

Cleveland/Stevenson campaign poster

By the beginning of 1892, many Americans were ready to return to Cleveland's political policies. While the clear frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, he was far from the universal choice of the party's supporters; many like Henry Watterson and Charles Dana thought that if he were to attain the nomination their party would lose in November, but there were few capable of challenging him effectively. Though he had remained relatively quiet on the issue of silver versus gold, often deferring to bi-metallism, Senate Democrats in January 1891 voted for free coinage of silver. Furious, he sent a letter to Ellery Anderson who headed the New York Reform Club, condemning the party's apparent drift towards inflation and agrarian control, the "dangerous and reckless experiment of free, unlimited coinage of silver at our mints." Adviser's warned that such statements might alienate potential supporters in the South and West and risk his chances for the nomination, but Cleveland felt that being right on the issue was more important than the nomination. After making his position clear Cleveland worked to focus his campaign on tariff reform, hoping that the silver issue would dissipate.[5]

A challenger emerged in the form of David Hill, former Governor and incumbent Senator of New York. In favor of bi-metallism and tariff reform, Hill hoped to make inroads with Cleveland's supporters while appealing to those in the South and Midwest that were not keen on nominating Cleveland for a third consecutive time; Hill had unofficially begun running for the position as early as 1890, and even offered former Postmaster General Donald Dickinson his support for the Vice Presidential nomination. However he was not able to escape his past association with Tammany Hall which he supported as well as machine politics, and the lack of confidence in his ability to defeat Cleveland for the nomination kept Hill from attaining the support he needed. By the time of the convention Cleveland had carried the support of majority of the state Democratic parties, though his native New York remained pledged to Senator Hill.[6]

In a narrow first-ballot victory, Cleveland received 617.33 votes, barely 10 more than needed, to 114 for Senator David B. Hill of New York, the candidate of Tammany Hall, 103 for Governor Horace Boies of Iowa, a populist and former Republican, and the rest scattered. Although the Cleveland forces preferred Isaac P. Gray of Indiana for vice-president, Cleveland directed his own support to the convention favorite, Adlai E. Stevenson of Illinois.[7] As a supporter of using greenbacks and free silver to inflate the currency and alleviate economic distress in rural districts, Stevenson balanced the ticket headed by Cleveland, the hard-money, gold standard supporter. At the same time it was hoped that his nomination would represent a promise not to ignore regulars, and so potentially get Hill and Tammany Hall to support the Democratic ticket to their fullest in the coming election.[8][9]

People's Party nomination

Populist candidates:

Candidates gallery

Weaver/Field campaign poster

In 1891, the farmers' alliances met with delegates from labor and reform groups in Cincinnati, Ohio, and discussed forming a new political party. They formed the People's Party, commonly known as the "Populists," a year later in St. Louis, Missouri.

Leonidas L. Polk was the initial frontrunner for the presidential nomination, having been instrumental in the party's formation and holding great appeal to its agrarian base, but he unexpectedly died while in Washington D.C. on June 11. Another oft mentioned candidate for the nomination was Walter Q. Gresham, an appellate judge who had made a number of rulings against the railroads that made him a favorite of some farmer and labor groups, and it was felt that his rather dignified image would make the Populists appear as more than a minor contender. Both Democrats and Republicans feared his nomination for this reason, and while Gresham toyed with the idea, he ultimately was not ready to make a complete break with the two parties, declining petitions for his nomination right up to and during the Populist Convention. Later he would endorse Grover Cleveland for the Presidency.[10]

At the first Populist national convention in Omaha, Nebraska, in July 1892, James B. Weaver of Iowa was nominated for president on the first ballot, now lacking any serious opposition to his nomination. While his nomination brought with him significant campaigning experience from over several decades, he also had a longer tract of history for which Republicans and Democrats could criticize him, and also alienated many potential supporters in the South, having participated in Sherman's March to the Sea. James G. Field of Virginia was nominated for vice-president to try and rectify this problem while also attaining the regional balance often seen in Republican and Democratic tickets.[11]

Presidential Ballot Vice Presidential Ballot
Ballot 1st 1st
James B. Weaver 995 James G. Field 733
James H. Kyle 265 Ben Stockton Terrell 554
Seymour F. Norton 1
Mann Page 1
Others 1

Source: US President - P Convention. Our Campaigns. (September 7, 2009). Source: US Vice President - P Convention. Our Campaigns. (September 7, 2009).

The Populist platform called for nationalization of the telegraph, telephone, and railroads, free coinage of silver, a graduated income tax, and creation of postal savings banks.

People's Party Platform

Assembled upon the 116th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the People's Party of America in their first national convention, invoking upon their action the blessing of Almighty God, put forth in the name and on the behalf of the people of this country, the following preamble and declaration of principles:

The conditions which surround us best justify our co-operation; we meet in the midst of a nation brought to the verge of moral, political, and material ruin. Corruption dominates the ballot-box, the Legislatures, the Congress, and touches even the ermine of the bench. The people are demoralized; most of the States have been compelled to isolate the voters at the polling places to prevent universal intimidation and bribery. The newspapers are largely subsidized or muzzled, public opinion silenced, business prostrated, homes covered with mortgages, labor impoverished, and the land concentrating in the hands of capitalists. The urban workmen are denied the right to organize for self-protection; imported pauperized labor beats down their wages, a hireling standing army, unrecognized by our laws, is established to shoot them down, and they are rapidly degenerating into European conditions. The fruits of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for a few, unprecedented in the history of mankind; and the possessors of these, in turn despise the Republic and endanger liberty. From the same prolific womb of governmental injustice we breed the two great classes - tramps and millionaires.
The national power to create money is appropriated to enrich bond-holders; a vast public debt payable in legal tender currency has been funded into gold-bearing bonds, thereby adding millions to the burdens of the people.
Silver, which has been accepted as coin since the dawn of history, has been demonetized to add to the purchasing power of gold by decreasing the value of all forms of property as well as human labor, and the supply of currency is purposely abridged to fatten usurers, bankrupt enterprise, and enslave industry. A vast conspiracy against mankind has been organized on two continents, and it is rapidly taking possession of the world. If not met and overthrown at once, it forebodes terrible social convulsions, the destruction of civilization, or the establishment of an absolute despotism.
We have witnessed for more than a quarter of a century the struggles of the two great political parties for power and plunder, while grievous wrongs have been inflicted upon the suffering people. We charge that the controlling influence dominating both these parties have permitted the existing dreadful conditions to develop without serious effort to prevent or restrain them. Neither do they now promise us any substantial reform. They have agreed together to ignore, in the coming campaign, every issue but one. They propose to drown the outcries of a plundered people with the uproar of a sham battle over the tariff, so that capitalists, corporations, national banks, rings, trusts, watered stock, the demonetization of silver and the oppressions of usurers may all be lost sight of. They propose to sacrifice our homes, lives, and children on the altar of mammon; to destroy the multitude in order to secure corruption funds from the millionaires.
Assembled on the anniversary of the birthday of the nation, and filled with the spirit of the grand general and chief who established our independence, we seek to restore the government of the Republic to the hands of "the plain people," with which class it originated. We assert our purposes to be identical with the purposes of the National Constitution, to form a more perfect union and establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.
We declare that this Republic can only endure as a free government while built upon the love of the whole people for each other and for the nation; that it cannot be pinned together by bayonets; that the civil war is over and that every passion and resentment which grew out of it must die with it, and that we must be in fact, as we are in name, one united brotherhood of freemen.
Our country finds itself confronted by conditions for which there is no precedent in the history of the world; our annual agricultural productions amount to billions of dollars in value, which must, within a few weeks or months be exchanged for billions of dollars' worth of commodities consumed in their production; the existing currency supply is wholly inadequate to make this exchange; the results are falling prices, the formation of combines and rings, the impoverishment of the producing class. We pledge ourselves that, if given power, we will labor to correct these evils by wise and reasonable legislation, in accordance with the terms of our platform.
We believe that the power of government - in other words, of the people - should be expanded (as in the case of the postal service) as rapidly and as far as good sense of an intelligent people and the teachings of experience shall justify, to the end that oppression, injustice and poverty, shall eventually cease in the land.
While our sympathies as a party of reform are naturally upon the side of every proposition which will tend o make men intelligent, virtuous and temperate, we nevertheless regard these questions, important as they are, as secondary to the great issues now pressing for solution, and upon which not only our individual prosperity but the very existence of free institutions depend; and we ask all men to first help us to determine whether we are to have a republic to administer, believing that the forces of reform this day organized will never cease to move forward, until every wrong is remedied, and equal rights and equal privileges securely established for all the men and women of this country.
We declare, therefore,
First - That the union of the labor forces of the United States this day consummated shall be permanent and perpetual; may its spirit enter into all hearts for the salvation of the Republic and the uplifting of mankind.
Second - Wealth belongs to him who creates it, and every dollar taken from industry without an equivalent is robbery. "If any will not work, neither shall he eat." The interests of rural and civic labor are the same; their enemies are identical.
Third - We believe that the time has come when the railroad corporations will either own the people or the people must own the railroads, and should the government enter upon the work of owning and managing all railroads, we should favor an amendment to the Constitution by which all persons engaged in the government service shall be placed under a civil service regulation of the most rigid character, so as to prevent the increase of the power of the national administration by the use of such additional government employees.
Finance - We demand a national currency, safe, sound, and flexible, issued by the general government only, a full legal tender for all debts, public and private, and that without the use of banking corporations, a just, equitable, and efficient means of distribution direct to the people, at a tax not to exceed 2 per cent per annum, to be provided as set forth by the sub-treasury plan of the Farmers' Alliance, or a better system; also by payments in discharge of its obligations for public improvements.
1. We demand free and unlimited coinage of silver and gold at the present legal ration of 16 to 1.
2. We demand that the amount of circulating medium be speedily increased to not less than $50 per capita.
3. We demand a graduated income tax.
4. We believe that the money of the country should be kept as much as possible in the hands of the people, and hence we demand that all State and national revenues shall be limited to the necessary expenses of the government, economically and honestly administered.
5. We demand that postal savings banks be established by the government for the safe deposit of the earnings of the people and to facilitate exchange.
Transportation - Transportation being a means of exchange and a public necessity, the government should own and operate the railroads in the interest of the people. The telegraph and telephone, like the post office system, being a necessity for the transmission of news, should be owned and operated by the government in the interest of the people.
Land - The land, including all the natural sources of wealth, is the heritage of the people, and should not be monopolized for speculative purposes, and alien ownership of land should be prohibited. All land now held by the railroads and other corporations in excess of their actual needs, and all lands now owned bu aliens, should be reclaimed by the government and held for actual settlers only.


Prohibition Party nomination

Prohibition candidates:

Candidates gallery

National Prohibition Convention, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1892.

The 6th Prohibition Party National Convention assembled in Music Hall in Cincinnati. There were 972 delegates present from all states except Louisiana and South Carolina.

Two major stories about the convention loomed before it assembled. In the first place, some members of the national committee sought to merge the Prohibition and Populist Parties. While there appeared a likelihood that the merger would materialize, by convention time it was clear that it was not going to happen. Secondly, the southern states sent a number of black delegates. Cincinnati hotels refused to serve meals to blacks and whites at the same time, and several hotels refused all service to the black delegates.

The convention nominated John Bidwell of California for president on the first ballot. Prior to the convention, the race was thought to be close between Bidwell and William Jennings Demorest, but the New York delegation became irritated with Demorest and voted for Bidwell 73-7. James B. Cranfill of Texas was nominated for vice-president on the first ballot with 417 votes to 351 for Joshua Levering of Maryland and 45 for others.[13]

Presidential Ballot
Ballot 1st
John Bidwell 590
Gideon T. Stewart 179
William Jennings Demorest 139
H. Clay Bascom 3

Source: US President - P Convention. Our Campaigns. (May 9, 2010).

Prohibition Party Platform

The Prohibition Party, in National Convention assembled, acknowledging Almighty God as the source of all true government, and His law as the standard to which human enactments must conform to secure the blessings of peace and prosperity, presents the following declaration of principles:
Our traffic is a foe to civilization, the arch enemy of popular government, and a public nuisance. It is the citadel of the forces that corrupt politics, promote poverty and crime, degrade the nation's home life, thwart the will of the people, and deliver our country into the hands of rapacious class interests. All laws that under the guise of regulation legalize and protect this traffic or make the Government share its ill-gotten gains, are 'vicious in principle and powerless as a remedy.' We declare anew for the entire suppression of the manufacture, sale, importation, exportation and transportation of alcoholic liquors as a beverage by Federal and State legislation, and the full powers of Government should be exerted to secure this result. Any party that fails to recognize the dominant nature of this issue in American politics is undeserving of the support of the people.
No citizen should be denied the right to vote on account of sex, and equal labor should receive equal wages, without regard to sex.
The money of the country should consist of gold, silver, and paper, and be issued by the General Government only, and in sufficient quantity to meet the demands of business and give full opportunity for the employment of labor. To this end an increase in the volume of money is demanded, and no individual or corporation should be allowed to make any profit through its issue. It should be made a legal tender for the payument of all debts, public and private. Its volume should be fixed at a definite sum per capita and made to increase with our increase in population.
Tariff should be levied only as a defense against foreign governments which levy tariff upon or bar out our products from their markets, revenue being incidental. The residue of means necessary to an economical administration of the Government should be raised by levying a burden on what the people possess, instead of upon what they consume.
Railroad, telegraph, and other public corporations should be controlled by the Government in the interest of the people, and no higher charges allowed than necessary to give fair interest on the capital actually invested.
Foreign immigration has become a burden upon industry, one of the factors in depressing wages and causing discontent; therefore our immigration laws should be revised and strictly enforced. The time of residence for naturalization should be extended, and no naturalized person should be allowed to vote until one year after he becomes a citizen.
Non-resident aliens should not be alloweed to acquire land in this country, and we favor the limitation of individual and corporate ownership of land. All unearned grants of land to railroad companies or other corporations should be reclaimed.
Years of inaction and treachery on the part of the Republican and Democratic parties have resulted in the present reign of mob law, and we demand that every citizen be protected in the right of trial by constitutional tribunals.
All men should be protected by law in their right to one day's rest in seven.
Arbitration is the wisest and most economical and humane method of settling national differences.
Speculations in margins, the cornering of grain, money and products, and the formation of pools, trusts, and combinations for the arbitrary advancement of prices should be suppressed.
We pledge that the Prohibition Party, if elected to power, will ever grant just pensions to disabled veterans of the Union army and navy, their widows and orphans.
We stand unequivocally for the Amerian Public School, and opposed to any appropriation of any public moneys for sectarian schools. We declare that only by united support of such common schools, taught in the English language, can we hope to become and remain a homogeneous and harmonious people.
We arraign the Republican and Democratic Parties as false to the standards reared by their founders; as faithless to the principles of the illustrious leaders of the past to whom they do homage with the lips; as recreant to the higher law,'which is as inflexible in political affairs as in personal life; and as no longer embodying the aspirations of the American people, or inviting the confidence of enlightened, progressive patriotism. Their protest against the admission of 'moral issues' into politics is a confession of theirt own moral degeneracy. The declaration of an eminent authority that municipal misrule is 'the one conspicuous failure of American politics' follows as a natural consequence of such degeneracy, and it is true alike of cities under Republican and Democratic control. Each accuses the other of extravagance in congressional appropriations, and both are alike guilty; each protests when out of power against the infraction of the civil-service laws, and each when in power violates those laws in letter and spirit; each professes fealty to the interests of the toiling masses, but both covertly truckle to the money power in their administration of public affairs. Even the tariff issue, as represented in the Democratic Mills bill and the Republican McKinley bill, is no longer treated by them as an issue upon great and divergent principles of government, but is a mere catering to different sectional and class interests. The attempt in many States to wrest the Australian ballot system from its true purpose, and to so deform it as to render it extremely difficult fgor new parties to exercise the right of suffrage, is an outrage upon popular government. The competition of both the parties for the vote of the slums, and their assiduous courting of the liquor power and subvserviency to the money power, has resulted in placing those powers in the position of practical arbiters of the detinies of the nation. We renew our protest against these perilous tendencies, and invite all citizens to join us in the upbuilding of a party that has shown in five national campaigns that it prefers temporary defeat to an abandonment of the claims of justice, sobriety, personal rights and the protection of American homes.
Recognizing and declaring that prohibition of the liquor traffic has become the dominant issue in national politics, we invite to full party fellowship all those who on this one dominant issue are with us agreed, in the full belief that this party can and will remove sectional differences, promote national unity, and insure the best welfare of our entire land.
Resolved, That we favor a liberal appropriation by the Federal Government for the World's Columbian Exposition, but only on the condition that the sale of intoxicating drinks upon the Exposition grounds is prohibited, and that the Exposition be kept closed on Sunday.


Socialist Labor Party Nomination

The first Socialist Labor Party National Convention assembled in New York City and, despite running on a platform that called for the abolition of the positions of President and Vice President, decided to nominate candidates for those positions; Simon Wing of Massachusetts for president and Charles Matchett of New York for vice-president. They were on the ballot in five states; Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.[15]

General election


Cleveland/Stevenson poster.

The tariff issue dominated this rather lackluster campaign. Harrison defended the protectionist McKinley Tariff passed during his term: Cleveland, assuring voters that he opposed absolute free trade, continued his campaign for a reduction in the tariff. Cleveland also denounced the Force Bill, a voting rights bill.[16] William McKinley campaigned extensively for Harrison, setting the stage for his own run four years later.

The campaign took a somber turn when, in October, First Lady Caroline Harrison died. Despite the ill health that had plagued Mrs. Harrison since her youth and had worsened in the last decade, she often accompanied Mr. Harrison on official travels. On one such trip, to California in the spring of 1891, she caught a cold. It quickly deepened into her chest, and she was eventually diagnosed with tuberculosis. A summer in the Adirondack Mountains failed to restore her to health. An invalid the last six months of her life, she died in the White House on October 25, 1892, just two weeks before the national election. As a result, all of the candidates ceased campaigning.


Results by county explicitly indicating the percentage for the winning candidate. Shades of blue are for Cleveland (Democratic), shades of red are for Harrison (Republican), and shades of green are for Weaver (Populist).

The margin in the popular vote for Cleveland was 400,000, the largest since Grant's re-election in 1872.[17] The Democrats won the presidency and both houses of Congress for the first time since the Civil War. President Harrison's re-election bid was a decisive loss in both the popular and electoral count, unlike President Cleveland's re-election bid four years earlier, in which he won the popular vote, but lost the electoral vote. Cleveland was the third of only five presidents to win re-election with a smaller percentage of the popular vote than in previous elections, although in the two prior such incidents—James Madison in 1812 and Andrew Jackson in 1832—not all states held popular elections. Ironically, Cleveland saw his popular support decrease not only from his electoral win in 1884, but also from his electoral loss in 1888. A similar vote decrease would happen again for Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940 and 1944 and Barack Obama in 2012.

At the county level, the Democratic candidate fared much better than the Republican candidate. The Republicans' vote was not nearly as widespread as the Democrats. In 1892, it was still a sectionally based party mainly situated in the East, Midwest, and West and was barely visible south of the Mason–Dixon line. In only a few counties in the South was the party holding on. In East Tennessee and tidewater Virginia, the vote at the county level showed some strength, but it barely existed in Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas.[18]

In a continuation of its collapse there during the 1890 Congressional elections, the Republican Party even struggled in its Midwestern strongholds, where general electoral troubles from economic woes were acutely exacerbated by the promotion of temperance laws and, in Wisconsin and Illinois, the aggressive support of state politicians for English-only compulsory education laws. Such policies, which particularly in the case of the latter were associated with an upwelling of nativist and anti-Catholic attitudes amongst their supporters, resulted in the defection of large sections of immigrant communities—especially Germans—to the Democratic Party. Cleveland carried and Wisconsin and Illinois with their 36 combined electoral votes, a Democratic victory not seen in these states since 1852 and 1856, respectively, and which would not be repeated until Woodrow Wilson's election in 1912. While not as dramatic a loss as in 1890, it would take until the next election cycle for more moderate Republican leaders to pick up the pieces left by the reformist crusaders and bring alienated immigrants back to the fold.[19]

Of the 2,683 counties making returns, Cleveland won in 1,389 (51.77%), Harrison carried 1,017 (37.91%), while Weaver placed first in 276 (10.29%). One county (0.04%) split evenly between Cleveland and Harrison.

Populist James B. Weaver, calling for free coinage of silver and an inflationary monetary policy, received such strong support in the West that he become the only third-party nominee between 1860 and 1912 to carry a single state. The Democratic Party did not have a presidential ticket on the ballot in the states of Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, North Dakota, or Wyoming, and Weaver won the first four of these states.[20]

Weaver also performed well in the South as he won counties in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas. Populists did best in Alabama, where electoral chicanery probably carried the day for the Democrats.[17]

The Prohibition ticket received 270,879, or 2.2% nationwide. It was the largest total vote and highest percentage of the vote received by any Prohibition Party national ticket.

Wyoming, having attained statehood two years earlier, became the first state to allow women to vote in a presidential election since 1804. (Women in New Jersey had the right to vote under the state's original constitution, but this right was rescinded in 1807.)

Wyoming was also one of six states (along with North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, and Idaho) participating in their first presidential election—other than the first election, the most in American history.

Electors from the state of Michigan were selected using the congressional district method (the winner in each congressional district wins one electoral vote, the winner of the state wins two electoral votes). This resulted in a split between the Republican and Democratic electors: nine for Harrison and five for Cleveland.[21]

In Oregon, the direct election of Presidential Electors combined with the fact that one Weaver elector was endorsed by the Democratic Party and elected as a Fusionist, resulted in a split between the Republican and Populist electors: three for Harrison and one for Weaver.[21]

In California, the direct election of Presidential Electors combined with the close race resulted in a split between the Republican and Democratic electors: eight for Cleveland and one for Harrison.[21]

In Ohio, the direct election of Presidential Electors combined with the close race resulted in a split between the Republican and Democratic of electors: 22 for Harrison and one for Cleveland.[21]

In North Dakota, two electors from the Democratic-Populist Fusion ticket won and one Republican Elector won. This created a split delegation of electors: one for Weaver, one for Harrison, and one for Cleveland.[21]

This was the first occasion in which incumbent presidents were defeated in two consecutive elections. This would not happen again until 1980.

Presidential candidate Party Home state Popular vote Electoral
Running mate
Count Pct Vice-presidential candidate Home state Elect. vote
Grover Cleveland Democratic New York 5,553,898 46.02% 277 Adlai E. Stevenson Illinois 277
Benjamin Harrison (Incumbent) Republican Indiana 5,190,819 43.01% 145 Whitelaw Reid New York 145
James B. Weaver Populist Iowa 1,026,595 8.51% 22 James G. Field Virginia 22
John Bidwell Prohibition California 270,879 2.24% 0 James Cranfill Texas 0
Simon Wing Socialist Labor Massachusetts 21,173 0.18% 0 Charles Matchett New York 0
Other 4,673 0.04% Other
Total 12,068,037 100% 444 444
Needed to win 223 223

Source (Popular Vote): Leip, David. "1892 Presidential Election Results". Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved July 27, 2005.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Source (Electoral Vote): "Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved July 31, 2005.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Popular vote
Electoral vote

Results by state

Source: Data from Walter Dean Burnham, Presidential ballots, 1836-1892 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1955) pp 247-57.[22]

States won by Cleveland/Stevenson
States won by Harrison/Reid
States won by Weaver/Field
Grover Cleveland
Benjamin Harrison
James Weaver
John Bidwell
Simon Wing
Socialist Labor
Margin State Total
State electoral
#  % electoral
#  % electoral
#  % electoral
#  % electoral
#  % electoral
#  % #
Alabama 11 138,135 59.40 11 9,184 3.95 - 84,984 36.55 - 240 0.10 - - - - 53,151 22.86 232,543 AL
Arkansas 8 87,834 59.30 8 47,072 31.78 - 11,831 7.99 - 113 0.08 - - - - 40,762 27.52 148,117 AR
California 9 118,174 43.83 8 118,027 43.78 1 25,311 9.39 - 8,096 3.00 - - - - 147 0.05 269,609 CA
Colorado 4 - - - 38,620 41.13 - 53,584 57.07 4 1,687 1.80 - - - - -14,964 -15.94 93,891 CO
Connecticut 6 82,395 50.06 6 77,032 46.80 - 809 0.49 - 4,026 2.45 - 333 0.20 - 5,363 3.26 164,595 CT
Delaware 3 18,581 49.90 3 18,077 48.55 - - - - 564 1.51 - - - - 504 1.35 37,235 DE
Florida 4 30,153 85.01 4 - - - 4,843 13.65 - 475 1.34 - - - - 25,310 71.35 35,471 FL
Georgia 13 129,446 58.01 13 48,408 21.70 - 41,939 18.80 - 988 0.44 - - - - 81,038 36.32 223,126 GA
Idaho 3 - - - 8,599 44.31 - 10,520 54.21 3 288 1.48 - - - - -1,921 -9.90 19,407 ID
Illinois 24 426,281 48.79 24 399,288 45.70 - 22,207 2.54 - 25,871 2.96 - - - - 26,993 3.09 873,647 IL
Indiana 15 262,740 47.46 15 255,615 46.17 - 22,208 4.01 - 13,050 2.36 - - - - 7,125 1.29 553,613 IN
Iowa 13 196,367 44.31 - 219,795 49.60 13 20,595 4.65 - 6,402 1.44 - - - - -23,428 -5.29 443,159 IA
Kansas 10 - - - 157,241 48.40 - 163,111 50.20 10 4,553 1.40 - - - - -5,870 -1.81 324,905 KS
Kentucky 13 175,461 51.48 13 135,462 39.74 - 23,500 6.89 - 6,441 1.89 - - - - 39,999 11.73 340,864 KY
Louisiana 8 87,926 76.53 8 26,963 23.47 - - - - - - - - - - 60,963 53.06 114,889 LA
Maine 6 48,049 41.26 - 62,936 54.05 6 2,396 2.06 - 3,066 2.63 - - - - -14,887 -12.78 116,451 ME
Maryland 8 113,866 53.39 8 92,736 43.48 - 796 0.37 - 5,877 2.76 - - - - 21,130 9.91 213,275 MD
Massachusetts 15 176,813 45.22 - 202,814 51.87 15 3,210 0.82 - 7,539 1.93 - 649 0.17 - -26,001 -6.65 391,028 MA
Michigan 14 201,624 43.26 5 222,708 47.79 9 19,931 4.28 - 20,857 4.48 - - - - -21,084 -4.52 466,045 MI
Minnesota 9 100,920 37.76 - 122,823 45.96 9 29,313 10.97 - 14,182 5.31 - - - - -21,903 -8.20 267,238 MN
Mississippi 9 40,030 76.22 9 1,398 2.66 - 10,118 19.27 - 973 1.85 - - - - 29,912 56.95 52,519 MS
Missouri 17 268,400 49.56 17 227,646 42.03 - 41,204 7.61 - 4,333 0.80 - - - - 40,754 7.52 541,583 MO
Montana 3 17,690 39.79 - 18,871 42.44 3 7,338 16.50 - 562 1.26 - - - - -1,181 -2.66 44,461 MT
Nebraska 8 24,943 12.46 - 87,213 43.56 8 83,134 41.53 - 4,902 2.45 - - - - -4,079 -2.04 200,192 NE
Nevada 3 714 6.56 - 2,811 25.84 - 7,264 66.78 3 89 0.82 - - - - -4,453 -40.94 10,878 NV
New Hampshire 4 42,081 47.11 - 45,658 51.11 4 293 0.33 - 1,297 1.45 - - - - -3,577 -4.00 89,329 NH
New Jersey 10 171,066 50.67 10 156,101 46.24 - 985 0.29 - 8,134 2.41 - 1,337 0.40 - 14,965 4.43 337,623 NJ
New York 36 654,868 48.99 36 609,350 45.58 - 16,429 1.23 - 38,190 2.86 - 17,956 1.34 - 45,518 3.41 1,336,793 NY
North Carolina 11 132,951 47.44 11 100,346 35.80 - 44,336 15.82 - 2,637 0.94 - - - - 32,605 11.63 280,270 NC
North Dakota 3 0 0.00 1 17,519 48.50 1 17,700 49.01 1 899 2.49 - - - - -181 -0.50 36,118 ND
Ohio 23 404,115 47.53 1 405,187 47.66 22 14,850 1.75 - 26,012 3.06 - - - - -1,072 -0.13 850,164 OH
Oregon 4 14,243 18.15 - 35,002 44.59 3 26,965 34.35 1 2,281 2.91 - - - - -8,037 -10.24 78,491 OR
Pennsylvania 32 452,264 45.09 - 516,011 51.45 32 8,714 0.87 - 25,123 2.50 - 898 0.09 - -63,747 -6.36 1,003,010 PA
Rhode Island 4 24,336 45.75 - 26,975 50.71 4 228 0.43 - 1,654 3.11 - - - - -2,639 -4.96 53,196 RI
South Carolina 9 54,680 77.56 9 13,345 18.93 - 2,407 3.41 - - - - - - - 41,335 58.63 70,504 SC
South Dakota 4 9,081 12.88 - 34,888 49.48 4 26,544 37.64 - - - - - - - -8,344 -11.83 70,513 SD
Tennessee 12 136,468 51.36 12 100,537 37.83 - 23,918 9.00 - 4,809 1.81 - - - - 35,931 13.52 265,732 TN
Texas 15 239,148 56.65 15 81,144 19.22 - 99,688 23.61 - 2,165 0.51 - - - - 139,460 33.04 422,145 TX
Vermont 4 16,325 29.26 - 37,992 68.09 4 44 0.08 - 1,424 2.55 - - - - -21,667 -38.83 55,796 VT
Virginia 12 164,136 56.17 12 113,098 38.70 - 12,275 4.20 - 2,729 0.93 - - - - 51,038 17.46 292,238 VA
Washington 4 29,802 33.88 - 36,460 41.45 4 19,165 21.79 - 2,542 2.89 - - - - -6,658 -7.57 87,969 WA
West Virginia 6 84,467 49.37 6 80,292 46.93 - 4,167 2.44 - 2,153 1.26 - - - - 4,175 2.44 171,079 WV
Wisconsin 12 177,325 47.72 12 171,101 46.05 - 10,019 2.70 - 13,136 3.54 - - - - 6,224 1.68 371,581 WI
Wyoming 3 - - - 8,454 50.52 3 7,722 46.14 - 530 3.17 - - - - -732 -4.37 16,735 WY
TOTALS: 444 5,553,898 46.02 277 5,190,799 43.01 145 1,026,595 8.51 22 270,889 2.24 - 21,173 0.18 - 363,099 3.01 12,068,027 US

Close states

Margin of victory less than 5% (193 electoral votes):

  1. California, 0.05%
  2. Ohio, 0.13%
  3. North Dakota, 0.50%
  4. Indiana, 1.29%
  5. Delaware, 1.35%
  6. Wisconsin, 1.68%
  7. Kansas, 1.81%
  8. Nebraska, 2.04%
  9. West Virginia, 2.44%
  10. Montana, 2.66%
  11. Illinois, 3.09%
  12. Connecticut, 3.26%
  13. New York, 3.41%
  14. New Hampshire, 4.00%
  15. Wyoming, 4.37%
  16. New Jersey, 4.43%
  17. Michigan, 4.52%
  18. Rhode Island, 4.96%

Margin of victory between 5% and 10% (101 electoral votes):

  1. Iowa, 5.29%
  2. Pennsylvania, 6.36%
  3. Massachusetts, 6.65%
  4. Missouri, 7.52%
  5. Washington, 7.57%
  6. Minnesota, 8.20%
  7. Idaho, 9.90%
  8. Maryland, 9.91%

Geography of results

Cartographic gallery

See also


  1. "Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections". The American Presidency Project. UC Santa Barbara.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. History of American Presidential Elections, Volume II, Pgs 1706-1708
  3. History of American Presidential Elections, Volume II, Pgs 1706-1707
  4. 4.0 4.1 History of American Presidential Elections, Volume II, Pgs 1716
  5. History of American Presidential Elections, Volume II, Pg 1710-1711
  6. History of American Presidential Elections, Volume II, Pg 1711-1714
  7. William DeGregorio, The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents, Gramercy 1997
  8. Adlai Ewing Stevenson, 23rd Vice President (1893-1897), http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/generic/VP_Adlai_Stevenson.htm
  9. History of American Presidential Elections, Volume II, Pg 1719-1720
  10. History of American Presidential Elections Volume II 1848-1896; Schlesinger; Pgs 1721-1722
  11. History of American Presidential Elections Volume II 1848-1896; Schlesinger; Pgs 1722-1723
  12. History of American Presidential Elections Volume II 1848-1896; Schlesinger; Pgs 1741-1744
  13. "US President - PRB Convention Race - Jun 29, 1892". Our Campaigns. February 24, 2008. Retrieved November 18, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. www.prohibitionists.org
  15. "US President - SLP Convention Race - Aug 28, 1892". Our Campaigns. January 28, 2006. Retrieved November 18, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. James B. Hedges (1940), "North America", in William L. Langer, ed., An Encyclopedia of World history, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Part V, Section G, Subsection 1c, p. 794.
  17. 17.0 17.1 The Gilded Age: Perspectives on the Origins of Modern America, Edited by Charles W. Calhoun, pg. 275 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Gilded_Age" defined multiple times with different content
  18. Presidential Elections, 1789-2008: County, State, and National Mapping of Election Data, Donald R. Deskins, Jr., Hanes Walton, Jr., and Sherman C. Puckett, pg. 250
  19. Jensen, Richard J. The Winning of the Midwest: Social and Political Conflict, 1888-1896, ch. 4: Iowa, Wet or Dry? & ch. 5: Education, the Tariff, and the Melting Pot. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1971. pp. 89-153.
  20. Nathan Fine, Farmer and Labor Parties in the United States, 1828-1928. New York: Rand School of Social Science, 1928; pg. 79.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 http://www.uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/national.php?year=1892&f=0&off=0&elect=0
  22. "1892 Presidential General Election Data - National". Retrieved May 7, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


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  • Jensen, Richard (1971). The Winning of the Midwest: Social and Political Conflict, 1888–1896. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-39825-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  • Knoles, George H. (1942). The Presidential Campaign and Election of 1892. Stanford: Stanford University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Loewen, James (1995). Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. New York: New Press. p. 158. ISBN 1-56584-100-X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Morgan, H. Wayne (1969). From Hayes to McKinley: National Party Politics, 1877–1896. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Oberholtzer, Ellis P. (1917–37). A History of the United States since the Civil War. 5. New York: Macmillan.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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External links