Running for Presidency
In his book Minority Victory: Gilded Age Politics and the Front Porch Campaign of 1888, Charles W. Calhoun argues that the beginning of modern presidency and campaigning began in 1888 between Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison. He illustrates his points by describing how Cleveland and Harrison’s individual personalities and actions play into the transformation. He also discusses the economic issues that hindered and helped the candidates during their campaigning period and also what made Harrison’s campaign different from previous nineteenth-century Gilded Age presidential politics.
President Grover Cleveland, who was running for presidency from the Democratic Party, is described in the book as an indecisive candidate who is stuck in old issues. He allows himself to be run and told what to do and he also is portrayed as someone who more so sits for presidency than runs for it and is considered passive in the fight for the presidency title. One example of Cleveland’s uncertainty is displayed in his tariff policy. His policy declared British free trade and no American protection 1, and then after he voices his stance on the tariff issue, he tries to withdraw his statement 2 . Several times in the book Calhoun uses quotes like, “endorses the views expressed by President Cleveland in his last annual message to Congress as the correct interpretation of that platform upon the question of tariff reduction; and also endorses the efforts of our Democratic Representatives in Congress to secure a reduction of excessive taxation.”3 and describes Cleveland as “straddling” the final platform4. Calhoun also brings to light the issues that Cleveland wants to deal with rather than that of economic tariff issues. Cleveland still wanted to work on the Reconstruction of America after Civil War5, however, the people of this time period seemed to be tiring of race and civil rights issues that had not yet been resolved and wanted to focus more on the...
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