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Presidential Campaigns in U.S. History: James G. Blaine

CSPAN

"The United States is the only country with a known birthday."  - James G. Blaine

Politics and Poltical Records

Television did not exist at this time; any political wrangling was accomplished through the newspapers and magazines of the day, with the more educated populace reading publications like Harpers Weekly, The New York Times, and ...

A favorite form of attack was through political cartoons, which proliferated in many publications of the time. Blaine was lampooned in Harpers, a sampling of which can be found online.

1884 Election Results

1884 Election

CandidatePartyElectoral VotePopular VotePercentage
James G. Blaine Republican 182 4,848,936 48.2%
Grover Cleveland Democratic 219 4,874,621 48.5%

The Campaign

Editorial Cartoon, Presidential Campaign of 1884

"Seven parties nominated presidential candidates in 1884, although only the Prohibition and Greenback-Labor parties were thought to be able to influence the election....The Republicans... were divided into often-warring factions, blamed for an economic recession in Northeastern cities, and hampered with a president (Chester Arthur) whom most considered, at best, a caretaker. (Arthur succeeded to the presidency in September 1881 after President James Garfield died from wounds caused by an assassin's bullet.) ..The focus of the Democratic campaign was on Blaine's corruption. According to Democrats, Blaine's malfeasance was emblematic of the greed and arrogance of an entire party-the Republicans-which had been ensconced in office far too long. In his letter of acceptance, Cleveland emphasized reducing federal spending and providing "honest administration." The Democratic nominee promised to make appointments based on merit, advance civil service reform (although he did not specify how), and work for a constitutional amendment limiting presidents to one term." More information on this and 14 other elections can be found at Harpers Weekly.