Parades, Protests and Politics


The 1884 Republican National Convention

Delegates entering the Interstate Industrial Exposition Building, 1884.

Delegates entering the Interstate
Industrial Exposition Building, 1884.(CHS)

Both the Republican and Democratic conventions were held in Chicago in 1884. Republicans had held the presidency since Lincoln--24 years--but the Democrats had recaptured both houses of Congress in the 1882 midterm election. Chicago in 1884 was booming, diverse, and on the cutting edge of technology in both transportation and communication. In contrast, the city also suffered from unemployment and homelessness.

James Blaine had been James Garfield's secretary of state and trusted advisor and was the natural successor to the presidency after Garfield's assassination, but according to the Constitution, Vice President Chester Arthur filled the position. Blaine's men led the convention, but lost their vote for chairman of the convention. No one wanted another six-day convention (a repeat of 1880).

The convention proposed planks of a one-term, six-year president and female suffrage. It also pledged to respond to the demands of freedom and equality of all men and lead in the reform of labor, railway corporations, and civil service.

Besides Blaine, the other nominees were Gen. Joseph Hawley, Gen. John Logan, President Arthur and George Edmunds of Vermont. On the fourth ballot, Blaine surged ahead with a 541 ballot count and won. He chose John Logan from Illinois as his running mate, but the duo lost to Democrats Grover Cleveland and Thomas Hendricks by only 30,000 votes in the general election.


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