For the first time in American politics, a third party, the Anti-Masons, challenged the two major parties. Many politicians of note participated, including Thaddeus Stevens, William H. Seward, and Thurlow Weed. The Anti-Masons protested Masonic secrecy. They feared a conspiracy to control American political institutions, a fear fed by the fact that both the major party candidates, Jackson and Clay, were prominent Masons. The Anti-Masons convened the first national presidential nominating convention in Baltimore on September 26, The other parties soon followed suit, and the convention replaced the discredited caucus system of nomination.
The election of was largely a referendum on Andrew Jackson, but it also helped shape what is known as the second party system. His running mate, Col. Richard M. Johnson, claimed to have killed Indian chief Tecumseh. Johnson was controversial because he lived openly with a black woman. Disdaining the organized politics of the Democrats, the new Whig party ran three candidates, each strong in a different region: Hugh White of Tennessee, Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, and Gen.
William Henry Harrison of Indiana. Van Buren won the election with , popular votes, only Harrison led the Whigs with 73 electoral votes, White receiving 26 and Webster Willie P. Johnson, who failed to win an electoral majority, was elected vice president by the Democratic Senate. The Whig vice-presidential nominee was John Tyler , a onetime Democrat who had broken with Jackson over his veto of the bill rechartering the Second Bank. Harrison won by a popular vote of 1,, to 1,,, and an electoral margin of to But the victory proved to be a hollow one because Harrison died one month after his inauguration.
Tyler, his successor, would not accept Whig economic doctrine, and the change in presidential politics had little effect on presidential policy. The election of introduced expansion and slavery as important political issues and contributed to westward and southern growth and sectionalism.
Southerners of both parties sought to annex Texas and expand slavery. Dallas was nominated for vice president to appease Van Burenites, and the party backed annexation and settling the Oregon boundary dispute with England. But, pressured by southerners, Clay endorsed annexation, although concerned it might cause war with Mexico and disunion, and thereby lost support among antislavery Whigs.
Enough New Yorkers voted for Birney to throw 36 electoral votes and the election to Polk, who won the electoral college, , and a slim popular victory. John Tyler signed a joint congressional resolution admitting Texas, but Polk pursued Oregon, and then northern Mexico in the Mexican War, aggravating tension over slavery and sectional balance and leading toward the Compromise of The election of underscored the increasingly important role of slavery in national politics. Democratic president James K. Polk did not seek reelection. His party nominated Senator Lewis Cass of Michigan , who created the concept of squatter, or popular, sovereignty letting the settlers of a territory decide whether to permit slavery , with Gen.
William O. Butler of Kentucky for vice president. Antislavery groups formed the Free-Soil party, whose platform promised to prohibit the spread of slavery, and chose former president Martin Van Buren of New York for president and Charles Francis Adams, the son of President John Quincy Adams, of Massachusetts for vice president. The Whig nominee was the Mexican War hero, Gen. Zachary Taylor , a slave owner. For his part, Taylor professed moderation on slavery, and he and the Whigs were successful. Taylor defeated Cass, 1,, to 1,, in popular votes and to in electoral votes.
With the Taylor-Fillmore ticket elected, the forces had been set in motion for the events surrounding the Compromise of The election rang a death knell for the Whig party. Both parties split over their nominee and the issue of slavery. King of Alabama as his running mate. Graham of New Jersey for vice president. They nominated Senator John P. Southern Whigs were suspicious of Scott, whom they saw as a tool of antislavery senator William H.
Seward of New York. The election was waged by new political coalitions and was the first to confront directly the issue of slavery. The violence that followed the Kansas- Nebraska Act destroyed the old political system and past formulas of compromises. The Whig party was dead. Donelson for vice president. The Democratic party, portraying itself as the national party, nominated James Buchanan for president and John C. Breckinridge for vice president. Its platform supported the Kansas-Nebraska Act and noninterference with slavery.
This election saw the emergence of a new, sectional party composed of ex-Whigs, Free-Soil Democrats, and antislavery groups. The Republican party opposed the extension of slavery and promised a free-labor society with expanded opportunities for white workers. It nominated military hero, John C. Dayton for vice president. The physical assault by Congressman Preston S. Brooks of South Carolina on Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts on the floor of the Senate heightened northern resentment of southern aggressiveness.
Although the Democratic candidate, Buchanan, won with electoral votes and 1,, votes, the divided opposition gained more popular votes. The Republican party captured 1,, votes and in the electoral college, and the American party received , popular and 8 electoral votes. At the Republican convention, front-runner William H. Hoping to carry moderate states like Illinois and Pennsylvania, the party nominated Abraham Lincoln of Illinois for president and Senator Hannibal Hamlin of Maine for vice president. The Republican platform called for a ban on slavery in the territories, internal improvements, a homestead act, a Pacific railroad, and a tariff.
The Democratic convention, which met at Charleston, could not agree on a candidate, and most of the southern delegates bolted. Reconvening in Baltimore, the convention nominated Senator Stephen A. By carrying almost the entire North, Lincoln won in the electoral college with votes to 72 for Breckinridge, 39 for Bell, and 12 for Douglas. Lincoln won a popular plurality of about 40 percent, leading the popular vote with 1,, to 1,, for Douglas, , for Breckinridge, and , for Bell.
With the election of a sectional northern candidate, the Deep South seceded from the Union, followed within a few months by several states of the Upper South. McClellan, the general who had commanded the Army of the Potomac until his indecision and delays caused Lincoln to remove him. At first, Radical Republicans, fearing defeat, talked of ousting Lincoln in favor of the more ardently antislavery secretary of the treasury Salmon P. Chase , or Generals John C. But in the end they fell in behind the president.
The Republicans attracted Democratic support by running as the Union party and putting Johnson, a pro-war Democrat, on the ticket. Lincoln won in a landslide, owing partly to a policy of letting soldiers go home to vote. But the military successes of Generals Ulysses S. Grant in Virginia and William T. Sherman in the Deep South were probably more important. The electoral vote was to Democrats did better in state elections. In this contest, Republican Ulysses S. Blair of Missouri. The Democrats attacked the Republican management of Reconstruction and black suffrage.
Grant, a moderate on Reconstruction, was accused of military despotism and anti-Semitism, and Colfax, of nativism and possible corruption. Grant won the popular vote, 3,, to 2,,, and carried the electoral college by to Seymour carried only eight states, but ran fairly well in many others, especially in the South. The election showed that despite his popularity as a military hero, Grant was not invincible. His margin of victory came from newly enfranchised southern freedmen, who supplied him with about , votes. The Democrats had named a weak ticket and attacked Reconstruction rather than pursuing economic issues, but revealed surprising strength.
President Ulysses S. Greeley headed an uneasy coalition of Democrats and liberal Republicans. Gratz Brown of Missouri. Disaffected by Grant administration corruption and the controversy over Reconstruction, Greeley ran on a platform of civil service reform, laissez-faire liberalism, and an end to Reconstruction. The Republicans came out for civil service reform and the protection of black rights. The electoral college vote was to Actually, the result was more anti-Greeley than pro-Grant.
In the Republican party nominated Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio for president and William A.
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Wheeler of New York for vice president. The Democratic candidates were Samuel J. Tilden of New York for president and Thomas A. Hendricks of Indiana for vice president. Several minor parties, including the Prohibition party and the Greenback party, also ran candidates. The country was growing weary of Reconstruction policies, which kept federal troops stationed in several southern states. Moreover, the Grant administration was tainted by numerous scandals, which caused disaffection for the party among voters.
In the House of Representatives had gone Democratic; political change was in the air. Samuel Tilden won the popular vote, receiving 4,, votes to 4,, for Hayes. In the electoral college Tilden was also ahead to ; both parties claimed the remaining 20 votes. The Democrats needed only 1 more vote to capture the presidency, but the Republicans needed all 20 contested electoral votes. Nineteen of them came from South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida—states that the Republicans still controlled.
Protesting Democratic treatment of black voters, Republicans insisted that Hayes had carried those states but that Democratic electors had voted for Tilden. Two sets of election returns existed—one from the Democrats, one from the Republicans. Congress had to determine the authenticity of the disputed returns.
Unable to decide, legislators established a fifteen-member commission composed of ten congressmen and five Supreme Court justices. The commission was supposed to be nonpartisan, but ultimately it consisted of eight Republicans and seven Democrats. The final decision was to be rendered by the commission unless both the Senate and the House rejected it. The commission accepted the Republican vote in each state. The House disagreed, but the Senate concurred, and Hayes and Wheeler were declared president and vice president. The election of was as rich in partisan wrangling as it was lacking in major issues.
Blaine resulted in a convention in which neither Blaine nor the Stalwart choice, former president Ulysses S. Grant, could gain the nomination. On the thirty-sixth ballot, a compromise choice, Senator James A. Garfield of Ohio, was nominated. Stalwart Chester A. In their platforms, both parties equivocated on the currency issue and unenthusiastically endorsed civil service reform, while supporting generous pensions for veterans and the exclusion of Chinese immigrants.
Turnout was high on election day Greenback-Labor candidate James Weaver garnered , votes. Outside the southern and border states, Hancock carried only New Jersey, Nevada , and 5 of 6 California electoral votes. This race, marred by negative campaigning and corruption, ended in the election of the first Democratic president since The Republicans split into three camps: dissident reformers, called the Mugwumps, who were opposed to party and government graft; Stalwarts, Ulysses S.
Grant supporters who had fought civil service reform; and Half-Breeds, moderate reformers and high-tariff men loyal to the party. The Republicans nominated James G. His running mate was one of his opponents, Senator John Logan of Illinois. This gave Democrats a chance to name a ticket popular in New York, where Stalwart senator Roscoe Conkling had a long-running feud with Blaine, and they took advantage of it.
They chose New York governor Grover Cleveland , a fiscal conservative and civil service reformer, for president and Senator Thomas Hendricks of Indiana for vice president. The campaign was vicious. Gone to the White House, Ha! Thurman of Ohio as his running mate, replacing Vice President Thomas Hendricks who had died in office. Levi P. Morton of New York was the vice-presidential nominee. The campaign of helped establish the Republicans as the party of high tariffs, which most Democrats, heavily supported by southern farmers, opposed.
But memories of the Civil War also figured heavily in the election. Morton with Whitelaw Reid of New York. Stevenson of Illinois. James B. Weaver of Iowa and James G. Field of Virginia. The main difference between the Republicans and the Democrats in was their position on the tariff. The Republicans supported ever-increasing rates, whereas a substantial wing of the Democratic party pushed through a platform plank that demanded import taxes for revenue only. The Populists called for government ownership of the railroads and monetary reform, confronting these issues in a way the two major parties did not.
Weaver and the Populists received 1,, His running mate was Garret A. Hobart of New Jersey. The Democratic party platform was critical of President Grover Cleveland and endorsed the coinage of silver at a ratio of sixteen to one. His running mate was Arthur Sewall of Maine. Palmer of Illinois for president and Simon B. Buckner of Kentucky for vice president. Bryan toured the country, stressing his support for silver coinage as a solution for economically disadvantaged American farmers and calling for a relaxation of credit and regulation of the railroads.
McKinley remained at home and underscored the Republican commitment to the gold standard and protectionism. The Republican campaign, heavily financed by corporate interests, successfully portrayed Bryan and the Populists as radicals. The electoral college votes were to Bryan did not carry any northern industrial states, and the agricultural states of Iowa, Minnesota , and North Dakota also went Republican. Since Vice President Garret A. Hobart had died in office, Governor Theodore Roosevelt of New York received the vice-presidential nomination.
Stevenson of Illinois for vice president. Delivering over six hundred speeches in twenty-four states, he also persisted in his crusade for the free coinage of silver. McKinley did not actively campaign, relying on the revival of the economy that had occurred during his first term. In the election McKinley won wide support from business interests. Foreign policy questions proved unimportant to most voters.
In the electoral college the vote was to This race confirmed the popularity of Theodore Roosevelt, who had become president when McKinley was assassinated, and moved Democrats away from bimetallism and toward progressivism. Some Republicans deemed Roosevelt too liberal and flirted with nominating Marcus A.
But the party easily nominated Roosevelt for a term in his own right and Senator Charles Fairbanks of Indiana for vice president. Democrats divided again over gold and silver, but this time gold won out. Parker and his campaign attacked Roosevelt for his antitrust policies and for accepting contributions from big business. His having invited Booker T. Washington for a meal at the White House was also used against him. William Jennings Bryan overcame his distaste for Parker and his supporters and campaigned in the Midwest and West for the ticket.
Playing down bimetallism, he stressed moving the party toward more progressive stances. He carried the electoral college, to , with only the South going Democratic. The predominant campaign issue was Roosevelt. Business leaders campaigned for Taft. In , angered over what he felt was the betrayal of his policies by his hand-picked successor, President William Howard Taft, former president Theodore Roosevelt sought the Republican nomination.
His running mate was Governor Hiram Johnson of California. Marshall of Indiana for vice president. For the fourth time the Socialist party nominated Eugene V. Debs for president. During the campaign Roosevelt and Wilson attracted most of the attention. They offered the voters two brands of progressivism. In the Progressive party convention tried to nominate Theodore Roosevelt again, but Roosevelt, seeking to reunify the Republicans, convinced the convention to support the Republican choice, Associate Justice Charles Evans Hughes.
Parker of Louisiana for vice president. The Democrats stressed the fact that Wilson had kept the nation out of the European war, but Wilson was ambiguous about his ability to continue to do so. The election was close. Wilson also obtained a slim margin in the electoral college, winning to After a generation of progressive insurgency within the Republican party, it returned in to a conservative stance.
Harding of Ohio, a political insider. Governor Calvin Coolidge of Massachusetts, best known for his tough handling of the Boston police strike of , was the vice-presidential nominee. The Democratic party nominated James M.
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Cox, governor of Ohio, and Franklin D. Roosevelt of New York, assistant secretary of the navy in the Wilson administration. The Socialist party nominated Eugene V. A bedridden Wilson hoped the election would be a referendum on his League of Nations, but that issue was probably not decisive.
In the electoral college only the South went for Cox. Harding won by to Although still in prison, Debs received more than , votes. Dawes of Illinois. President Warren G. Harding had died in La Follette for president. The new Progressive party chose Senator Burton K. Wheeler of Montana for vice president. The platform called for higher taxes on the wealthy, conservation, direct election of the president, and the ending of child labor. In choosing their candidates the Democrats were faced with polar opposites.
Alfred E. Smith of New York was the epitome of the urban machine politician, and he was also Catholic; William G. McAdoo was a Protestant popular in the South and West. A deadlock developed; on the rd ballot the delegates finally settled on John W. Davis, a corporation lawyer, and Charles W. Bryan of Nebraska, the brother of William Jennings Bryan. La Follette carried only his home state, Wisconsin , with 13 electoral votes.
Charles Curtis of Kansas was his running mate. The Democrats nominated Alfred E. Robinson of Arkansas. Hoover firmly supported Prohibition, whereas Smith, an avowed wet, favored repeal. Many Americans found the urban and cultural groups that the cigar-smoking Smith epitomized frightening; Hoover seemed to stand for old-fashioned rural values.
The election produced a high voter turnout. Although Hoover had tried to respond to the crisis, his belief in voluntarism limited his options. The Democratic party nominated Franklin D. The platform called for the repeal of Prohibition and a reduction in federal spending. During the campaign Hoover defended his record, his commitment to a balanced budget, and the gold standard—a backward-looking stance, given that the number of unemployed stood at 13 million. Roosevelt made few specific proposals, but his tone and demeanor were positive and forward-looking.
The Democrats won the election in a landslide. In the Democratic party nominated President Franklin D. Landon of Kansas and Fred Knox of Illinois. The presidential campaign focused on class to an unusual extent for American politics. Conservative Democrats such as Alfred E. Smith supported Landon. Eighty percent of newspapers endorsed the Republicans, accusing Roosevelt of imposing a centralized economy. But Roosevelt appealed to a coalition of western and southern farmers, industrial workers, urban ethnic voters, and reform-minded intellectuals.
African-American voters, historically Republican, switched to fdr in record numbers. In a referendum on the emerging welfare state, the Democratic party won in a landslide—27,, popular votes for fdr to only 16,, for Landon. The Republicans carried two states—Maine and Vermont—for 8 electoral votes; Roosevelt received the remaining The unprecedented success of fdr in marked the beginning of a long period of Democratic party dominance.
In President Franklin D. Roosevelt won an unprecedented third term by a margin of nearly 5 million: 27,, popular votes to Republican Wendell L. The president carried the electoral college, to The new vice president was Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace, chosen by the Democrats to replace the two-term vice president John Nance Garner who no longer agreed with Roosevelt about anything. Charles A.
When Baltimore was convention central
McNary was the Republican candidate for vice president. This fact had determined the Republican choice of Willkie, who was a liberal internationalist running as the candidate of a conservative isolationist party. Although Willkie did not disagree with Roosevelt on foreign policy, the country chose to stay with an experienced leader.
Roosevelt planned to run for a fourth term, and this shaped the coming campaign. Democratic party regulars disliked Vice President Henry A. Wallace; eventually they persuaded Roosevelt to replace him with Senator Harry S. Truman of Missouri. Although Wendell Willkie, the nominee in , was initially the front-runner in the Republican race, the party returned to its traditional base, choosing conservative governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York. Republicans had hoped that Governor Earl Warren of California would accept the vice-presidential nomination, but he declined.
The party then turned to John W. The president won reelection with results that were similar to those of 25,, people voted for Roosevelt and Truman, and 22,, voters gave their support to Dewey. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the issue in his health—the sixty-two-year-old suffered from heart disease and high blood pressure—his competence as an administrator, and his stand on communism and the shape of the postwar world.
At issue also was whether any president should serve four terms. President Harry S. Truman, who had succeeded President Roosevelt after his death in , stood for reelection on the Democratic ticket with Alben Barkley of Kentucky as his running mate. A new left-leaning Progressive party nominated former vice president Henry A. Wallace of Iowa for president with Glen Taylor, a senator from Idaho , as his running mate. The Republican slate consisted of two prominent governors: Thomas E. Although polls and conventional wisdom predicted a Dewey victory, Truman campaigned vigorously as the underdog, making a famous whistle-stop tour of the country aboard a special train.
Results were uncertain to the last minute. A well-known photograph shows Truman the day after the election smiling broadly and holding aloft a newspaper with the headline dewey wins! The paper was wrong: Truman had received 24,, popular votes, or Thurmond and Wallace each received about 1. The Democratic victory in the electoral college was more substantial: Truman beat Dewey to ; Thurmond received 39 votes, and Wallace none.
When President Harry S. Truman declined to run for a third term, the Democratic convention nominated Governor Adlai E. Stevenson of Illinois for president on the third ballot. Senator John Sparkman of Alabama was chosen as his running mate. The Republican fight for the nomination was a conflict between the isolationists, represented by Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, and the more liberal internationalists, who backed World War II general Dwight D. Eisenhower , then president of Columbia University. Eisenhower won the nomination. Nixon , an anticommunist senator from California, was the vice-presidential candidate.
Despite suffering a heart attack and abdominal surgery during his first term, President Dwight D. Eisenhower was nominated by the Republicans for a second term without opposition. Although Richard M. Nixon had been a controversial vice president and many Republicans felt he was a liability, he was also renominated. For the second time the Democrats chose former governor Adlai E. Stevenson of Illinois; his running mate was Estes Kefauver of Tennessee. Foreign policy dominated the campaign. The Suez Canal crisis, occurring in the final weeks of the campaign, created a sense of emergency, and the country responded by voting strongly against change.
His margin was to 73 in the electoral college. In the Democratic party nominated John F. Kennedy , a senator from Massachusetts, for president. Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas was his running mate. Nixon to succeed Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was prohibited from running for a third term by the recently adopted Twenty-second Amendment. Kennedy was Catholic, and though religion was not a major issue, it had considerable influence on many voters.
Kennedy was the first Catholic and the youngest person to be elected president. The Democrats nominated Lyndon B. And they said, well you know, we don't have a Tennessee delegation here. Would you like to register? Did his presence in the bar have any relationship to the convention at all?
He just happened to be in the City of Baltimore and so they got him registered. And in those days the states were entitled to cast the number of votes at the convention equal to their Electoral College votes. So on that day -- that year Tennessee had 15 electoral votes. And states would often send more than the allotted number or less than the allotted number of delegates but they got to cast the exact number of delegates.
So if you had 60 delegates from Tennessee they could only cast 15 votes, so each delegate would cast a fraction. If you only had two or three you got to cast the full Well, this fellow Rucker was the only one there from Tennessee and they allowed him to cast the full 15 votes at the convention for that state. Johnson of Kentucky to be the running mate for Van Buren. And the vote was decided by two. So Rucker cast all his 15 votes for Johnson of Tennessee sic and he ended up deciding the vice-presidential nomination.
HAYNES There was a big outcry after the convention about this interloper who was permitted to cast the full state votes and what authority he had to do that.
And actually the term -- a term was coined called Ruckerize which came to mean assuming a position without authority or just kind of political shenanigans in general. And it stayed in kind of American vocabulary for a couple of generations after that convention. I see a common locale running through these early conventions.
They were all held in the charmed city. No other American city has hosted more of these conventions than Baltimore, 20 in all. Why has Baltimore been such an attractive locale for conventions? At that time Baltimore was the third largest city in the country behind New York and Philadelphia.
It was an east coast country at the time. Baltimore was essentially located geographically. It had a great transportation network. It had steamboats that ran from cities up and down the east coast, so it was a port city. Baltimore was accessible by steamboats. It had turnpikes running to the west and in all directions. There was a trunk line that opened to Washington D. Conventions were created as a way to make the nomination process for presidents more democratic.
Originally the members of congress of each political party chose the nominee so some of our earlier presidents were chose by members of congress. HAYNES And so it was a very unpopular system so the movement to have conventions was to make the process more democratic. But it made the power brokers in Washington less influential. So their view was if we kept the conventions in Baltimore, which was a two-hour train ride away, they could keep some control over their process and get to the conventions if something got out of control then need be.
While a lot of us may have missed that particular convention, you have found that third party conventions have had a much more powerful presence throughout history, especially after the first term of Ulysses S.
Grant following the Civil War. In that year there was opposition to Grant's re-nomination in the Republican Party by Republicans who were upset over the corruption of the Grand Administration. So they broke away and formed their own group called the Liberal Republicans. And they ended up -- they had a convention in Cincinnati, they ended up nominated Horace Greeley, who was the editor of the New York Tribune Newspaper, very well known figure in the country at the time.
And what the Democrats decided to do was to nominate Greeley also as their candidate. So that was interesting because Greeley really hated the Democrats. For a generation in his newspaper he had ranted and raved against the Democrats. He was a staunch wig and then later Republican. So, you know, it would be something akin to the Democratic Party today nominating Rush Limbaugh as their candidate. Unfortunately it didn't work and Grand won in a landslide. We'll see how that plays. In case you're just joining us we're talking with Stan Haynes.
You can call us at Do you feel like conventions are valuable to political life in our country, or for you have they lost meaning? But incumbents have not always been a sure thing, including even with great American leaders like Abraham Lincoln, right? The era that I write about in the book in the mid 19th century was basically an era of one-term presidents.
Andrew Jackson had served two terms but left office in the s and no one else had won a reelection over the next 20, 30 years. Abraham Lincoln, in the midst of the Civil War, was up for re-nomination in And it was by no means that he would be re-nominated by the Republican Party. HAYNES There was a group of Republicans opposed to Lincoln that nominated -- had a separate convention in Cincinnati and nominated a General Fremont who had been the nominee of the party, their candidate.
Lincoln's own secretary of the treasury Chase flirted with seeking the nomination in So although, you know, Lincoln was -- you know, had the power within the party to get the delegates to pledge to him, there was no certainty that he would emerge as the nominee. They favored a more aggressive policy in the war and a more aggressive policy against the south at the war's end and so that was the opposition. HAYNES And as the convention opened in Baltimore, there's a quote that one of Lincoln's friends came to visit him in the White House and said, you know, you should feel pretty confident because most of the delegates are pledged to support you, and Lincoln who had not been the frontrunner at the earlier convention in Chicago in where he was nominated responded to his friends, well, you know, I never forget that I was nominated at a convention where two-thirds of the delegates supported the other guy.
Lincoln and Stanton, his secretary of war and his closest advisor, decided they wanted to have a pro-war Democrat as the nominee. If they came out publicly and opposed Hamlin, they would lose votes in New England where Hamlin was from. So they kind of went quietly about it and set some surrogates around trying to court some pro-war Democrats, and Andrew Johnson from Tennessee ended up being place on the ticket, and there are a lot of stories in the convention about how that went about and to what extent Lincoln was directly involved.
Albert, you're on the air. Go ahead, please. Thank you so much for having me on today. This is a quite enjoyable subject. Regardless of anyone's political persuasion, I love the conventions. I get goosebumps regardless of the party, just for the democratic process and seeing the enthusiasm.
But this year I had to observe that I felt the Republican convention this year in modern times lacked enthusiasm more than I've ever before, and lacked a clear focus, and I was hoping to hear what your guest felt, I'd say at least since the late '70s if that observation has any merit. Thank you very much, and I'll listen to the answer. Our observation while we were there is that there was something of an enthusiasm deficit compared to previous Republican National Conventions that we've covered, but I don't know, how did you see it, Stan Haynes?
HAYNES I think that's, you know, maybe typical of, you know, the issues of the day and what, you know, what's going on with a particular convention. You know, there were stories in the past about, you know, lack of enthusiasm, and in the past, newspapers were generally aligned with one party or another, and a lot of the research that I did for the book was in newspapers. And you would read -- I would read stories of a Democratic -- pro-Democratic newspaper, and a pro-Republican newspaper of the same convention, and there would be radically different stories So, you know, I think it depends on the source.
But I think NNAMDI Well, it's a little bit -- it was a little bit like that at this convention depending on which television channel you happened to be watching after the convention was over, but go ahead, please.
A Party Like No Other: America's First Conventions - The Kojo Nnamdi Show
HAYNES Well, I think our cable news channels have kind of replaced these party-affiliated newspapers in terms of their leanings and biases and reporting the conventions on both sides. Stan Haynes is our guest. You can call in the meantime at Do speeches at conventions help you decide who to vote for in November?
What impact do these conventions -- these orchestrated conventions today have on you and your thinking and your vote? I'm Kojo Nnamdi. Stan Haynes, in your research, you found that dirty tricks did not start in the modern political era. President Lincoln, in fact, almost did not get a place for his second nominating convention in Some of the malcontents in the Republican party, upon hearing the dates of the convention, went out and rented the main convention hall in Baltimore which was the Maryland Institute where some prior conventions had been held.
So with the convention hall under contract to another party, the Republicans were left without a place to have the convention. HAYNES Lincoln's -- one of his cabinet members, Gideon Welles, wrote in his diary about this underhanded scheme to try to delay or derail the convention, and they were exploring ways to have an alternative site in Baltimore, possibly to move the convention to Philadelphia, or to have a temporary facility built.
So what they ended up doing is they finally were able to find a theater in Baltimore called the Front Street Theater, and were able to get a contract and have the convention held there. But two weeks before the convention, you know, they had no idea where it was going to be held. NNAMDI Women weren't allowed to be delegates until , so what role did they play at early conventions, if any, before the turn of the century? Most of the conventions were held in theaters or concert halls, and they would have balconies above them, so they were -- usually most of the parties would have a special section of the gallery reserved solely for ladies to be present, and ladies would often listen to the speeches and throw bouquets down on the floors to delegates who gave speeches favoring their particular candidate.
HAYNES Interesting story, in , in Chicago at the Republican Convention, they had -- most of the area was standing room only, but they one section that was with benches that you could sit down, but a gentleman had to be accompanied by a lady to do that, to get a seat. So what happened was that men were running around the streets of Chicago grabbing women and school girls off the sidewalks and paying them a quarter or 50 cents to accompany them through the door.
Paying them, okay. There's a story of one woman who said that she did this several times. She would go out on the sidewalk, get 50 cents from one guy, go through the door, go back on the street, get courted by another guy, get 50 more cents, and keep going and going. Allison, you're on the air, go ahead, please. Is the book available electronically is my first question, but the second is to your request about, I have unfortunately attended Democratic National Conventions.
ALLISON Because I do think the conventions are irrelevant and, of course, what the public does not see watching television are all the sky boxes and the corporate domination of both political parties. I don't know if you can speak to that, but again, I think that your earlier guest about the occupy movement and how much our democracy has been bought by corporate America really needs to be brought to the public's attention even more. ALLISON Well, then you should know, Allison, that when we were broadcasting from Tampa, we spoke to a representative of the Sunlight Foundation which makes it its business to monitor what's going on at these convention parties.
The largest convention parties are thrown generally by people associated with corporations who have sometimes chosen to remain anonymous. The Sunlight Foundation makes it its business to A, go to these parties if they can get in, and B, try to reveal exactly who is sponsoring these parties, and they do a pretty good job of it. But in response to the first part of your question, Stan Haynes, is the available electronically?
There's a website for the book. It's called Americanpoliticalconventions. You can go there and there are links to places to purchase the book. There's also a quiz you can take to test your knowledge of the 19th century conventions. So it is available through the website, there are plenty of places you can look there. So thank you very much