Parades, Protests and Politics

The 1880 Republican National Convention

Nine years after The Great Chicago Fire, Republican delegates arrived anxious to see a rebuilt Chicago. The goal of the convention was to find a successor to Rutherford B. Hayes to unite the party and stem the national rise of Democratic power.

The convention was huge. Ulysees S. Grant, home from a two-and-a-half year world tour and vacation from American politics, was still the favorite candidate for nomination. Although he desperately wanted to be nominated, Grant didn't want to actively campaign for it, so he sent a staff to the convention.

Anti-Grant and anit-third-termers fought hard and began winning support as the convention crawled along. Inside fighting broke out inside delegations and participants became unruly. Grant's leading opponents werew Senator James Blaine, Speaker of the House, and Treasury Secretary, John Sherman. While Blaine was a popular figure in the party, Sherman was considered radical and attracted little support.

No one faction had a majority and on June 7, after 28 ballots, the convention retired for the night. After the fifth day, there was still no nominee. On the sixth day, Wisconsin gave 16 votes to James Garfield on the 34th ballot. On the 35th ballot, Indiana added 27 more. Garfield, a Repubican congressional leader who stood for human rights and monetary issues, had pledged to support Sherman and objected. He was overruled and won on the 36th ballot. The tally was: Garfield, 399; Grant, 309; Blaine, 42; Washburne, 5; and Sherman, 3.

Garfield chose Blaine as his secretary of state. Four months after his inauguration, Garfield was shot and killed by a disgruntled and desperate job seeker named Charles Guiteau and his vice president, Chester Arthur, took over.

Al Capone
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World's Columbian Expo
Parades, Protest and Politics
Parades, Protests and Politics Photo Gallery
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The Pullman Era
The Stockyards
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