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1896 Democratic National Convention

1896 Democratic National Convention

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The 1896 Democratic National Convention, held at the Chicago Coliseum
Chicago Coliseum
The Chicago Coliseum was the name of a succession of three large indoor arenas in Chicago, Illinois from the 1860s to 1982 that each served as a sports venue, convention center, and exhibition hall over the course of their respective histories. The first Coliseum briefly made an appearance in the...

 from July 7 to July 11, was the scene of William Jennings Bryan
William Jennings Bryan
William Jennings Bryan was an American politician in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. He was a dominant force in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, standing three times as its candidate for President of the United States...

's nomination as Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 presidential candidate for the 1896 U.S. presidential election.

At age 36, Bryan was the youngest Presidential nominee in American history, only one year older than the constitutional minimum. Bryan's keynote "Cross of Gold" address
Cross of Gold speech
The Cross of Gold speech was delivered by William Jennings Bryan at the 1896 Democratic National Convention in Chicago on July 8, 1896. The speech advocated bimetallism. Following the Coinage Act , the United States abandoned its policy of bimetallism and began to operate a de facto gold...

, delivered prior to his nomination, lambasted Eastern monied classes for supporting the gold standard
Gold standard
The gold standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is a fixed mass of gold. There are distinct kinds of gold standard...

 at the expense of the average worker. This was a repudiation of Cleveland
Grover Cleveland
Stephen Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th president of the United States. Cleveland is the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms and therefore is the only individual to be counted twice in the numbering of the presidents...

-administration policy, but proved popular with the delegates to the convention.

Bryan secured the nomination on the fifth ballot over Richard P. Bland
Richard P. Bland
Richard Parks Bland , American school teacher, lawyer, and Democratic Congressman between 1873 and 1899, serving except from 1895 to 1897, when he returned to office....

. As the nominee, Bryan declined to choose a specific Democratic vice presidential nominee and left the decision to his fellow delegates. Arthur Sewall
Arthur Sewall
Arthur Sewall was a U.S. Democratic politician from Maine most notable as William Jennings Bryan's first running mate in 1896. As the Populist Party nominee, Bryan had another running mate as well, Thomas E. Watson...

 of Maine was nominated on the fifth ballot. The ticket ultimately lost to the Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 candidate, William McKinley
William McKinley
William McKinley, Jr. was the 25th President of the United States . He is best known for winning fiercely fought elections, while supporting the gold standard and high tariffs; he succeeded in forging a Republican coalition that for the most part dominated national politics until the 1930s...

.

Cleveland loses bid for renomination


In response to the Pullman Strike
Pullman Strike
The Pullman Strike was a nationwide conflict between labor unions and railroads that occurred in the United States in 1894. The conflict began in the town of Pullman, Illinois on May 11 when approximately 3,000 employees of the Pullman Palace Car Company began a wildcat strike in response to recent...

, President Grover Cleveland sent federal troops to Chicago to end the strike. At the convention he lost the renomination due to that response.

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