The tariff was the principal issue in this election that pitted Republican Benjamin Harrison, a popular veteran of the Union army and grandson of President William Henry Harrison, against Democrat Grover Cleveland, the incumbent president. The Republican opposed a reduction in tariffs. The Democratic platform focused on defending the Cleveland administration and its position that the tariff was unnecessarily high and hindered free trade. Cleveland received more popular votes than Harrison, who captured a larger electoral vote and thereby won the election. Only three other times in U.S. history has that scenario unfolded (1824, 1876, 2000).
The Republican magazine Judge celebrated the Harrison victory with this depiction of a slovenly Cleveland who has been evicted from the White House because his promise of civil service reform had proven to be bogus, and his badge of free trade had been rejected. The captions also refer to the tariff issue: Cleveland had been labeled pro-English because free trade was most strongly promoted by the British empire. That stance cost Cleveland the swing Irish-American voting block.
In 1892, Cleveland and Harrison again campaigned against one another, but this time Cleveland won, becoming the only person in U.S. history be elected to a second, nonconsecutive presidential term.
About this exhibit | Image gallery | Resources | Credits & Comments