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1888 Republican National Convention

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Date(s)  June 19–25, 1888
Venue  Auditorium Theatre
City  Chicago, Illinois
Chair  Morris M. Estee
1888 Republican National Convention
Presidential nominee  Benjamin Harrison of Indiana
Vice Presidential nominee  Levi P. Morton of New York

The 1888 Republican National Convention was a presidential nominating convention held at the Auditorium Building in Chicago, Illinois, on June 19–25, 1888. It resulted in the nomination of former Senator Benjamin Harrison of Indiana for President and Levi P. Morton of New York, a former Congressman and Minister to France, for Vice President. During the convention, Frederick Douglass was invited to speak and became the first African-American to have his name put forward for a presidential nomination in a major party's roll call vote; he received one vote from Kentucky on the fourth ballot.


The ticket won in the election of 1888, defeating President Grover Cleveland and former Senator Allen G. Thurman from Ohio.

Issues addressed

Issues addressed in the convention included support for protective tariffs, repeal of taxes on tobacco, support for the use of gold and silver as currency and support for pensions for veterans. The party also expressed its opposition to polygamy.

Vice Presidential nominaion

Former Congressman and Minister to France Levi P. Morton from New York was asked if he wanted the second spot. He had been asked in 1880, but had declined. This time Morton decided to accept. He was easily elected on the first ballot.

Accusation of delegate vote-buying

Nearly a decade later, Ohio candidate John Sherman accused Michigan candidate, millionaire Russell A. Alger, of buying the votes of Southern delegates who had already confirmed their vote for Sherman. In Sherman's 1895 two-volume book "Recollections" he asserted, "I believe, and had, as I thought, conclusive proof, that the friends of Gen. Alger substantially purchased the votes of many of the delegates from the Southern States who had been instructed by their conventions to vote for me." Once accused, Alger submitted correspondence to the New York Times, who published one letter from 1888, written after the convention to Alger, where Sherman states, "if you bought some [votes], according to universal usage, surely I don't blame you." Later in the same New York Times article, Alger insisted neither he or friends bought a single vote. The article also quotes another delegate, James Lewis, who claimed that "the colored delegates of the South will unite on a Union soldier in preference" instead of a civilian.

When Sherman introduced his anti-trust legislation two years later, his main example of unlawful combination drew from a Michigan Supreme Court case involving Diamond Match Company and Alger's participation as president and stock holder.


1888 Republican National Convention Wikipedia

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