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CHAPTER XXXII

RENOMINATION AND REËLECTION

HE campaign year of 1900 found the Ameri

T cap people in complacent mood. The marked

contrast with 1896, when everybody wanted a change, the people were well content. In the former campaign the Republicans were urging, as a remedy for the hard times of that period, a change from a low to a high tariff; the Democrats wanted to remedy the same thing by a change from a gold to a silver standard; Sound-Money Democrats were changing their party allegiance; business men were changing from a position of apathy to one of intense eagerness for participation in political affairs; from East to West, from North to South, in every city, town and village and even on the farms, there was a bubbling and sizzling of doctrines and theories and “isms,' a seething mass of contradictions all thrown into the political cauldron for the common purpose of an escape from conditions then existing. It was a period when restless discontent, confused by the clamor of discordant voices, was groping its way toward the light. The Democratic leaders pointed in the direction of Free Silver, as the path to salvation; the

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Republicans pointed to Sound Money and Protection. The people accepted the lead of the latter, and by the very simple device of keeping its promises, the party demonstrated the wisdom of its advice.

The passage of the Dingley Bill caused no such party upset as did its predecessor of 1890. The leaders, learning by experience, wisely placed the law upon the statute books as quickly as possible after the election, thereby giving it an opportunity to prove its usefulness before the next contest. The ensuing prosperity was agreeable to everybody. No fine-spun arguments of theoretical economists could overcome the fact that prosperity had come, that it came in the wake of the Dingley Law, that this result had been predicted by the Republicans under the leadership of McKinley, and that the promise of the party had been fulfilled. Accordingly, with everybody satisfied except the theorists, the Tariff dropped out of sight as a bone of contention in 1900.

For a similar reason the currency question no longer absorbed the public mind. The Free-Silver wave had reached its crest and the craze was subsiding. To the masses it had made a certain appeal as a possible means of restoring good times. When they saw the reawakening of business, the reëstablishment of confidence, the vindication of our national credit, the flow of money into the West, making

CHAPTER XXXII

RENOMINATION AND REËLECTION

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HE campaign year of 1900 found the Ameri

can people in complacent mood. In marked contrast with 1896, when everybody wanted a change, the people were well content. In the former campaign the Republicans were urging, as a remedy for the hard times of that period, a change from a low to a high tariff; the Democrats wanted to remedy the same thing by a change from a gold to a silver standard; Sound-Money Democrats were changing their party allegiance; business men were changing from a position of apathy to one of intense eagerness for participation in political affairs; from East to West, from North to South, in every city, town and village and even on the farms, there was a bubbling and sizzling of doctrines and theories and "isms," a seething mass of contradictions all thrown into the political cauldron for the common purpose of an escape .

from conditions then existing. It was a period when restless discontent, confused by the clamor of discordant voices, was groping its way toward the light. The Democratic leaders pointed in the direction of Free Silver, as the path to salvation; the Republicans pointed to Sound Money and Protection. The people accepted the lead of the latter, and by the very simple device of keeping its promises, the party demonstrated the wisdom of its advice.

The passage of the Dingley Bill caused no such party upset as did its predecessor of 1890. The leaders, learning by experience, wisely placed the law upon the statute books as quickly as possible after the election, thereby giving it an opportunity to prove its usefulness before the next contest. The ensuing prosperity was agreeable to everybody. No fine-spun arguments of theoretical economists could overcome the fact that prosperity had come, that it came in the wake of the Dingley Law, that this result had been predicted by the Republicans under the leadership of McKinley, and that the promise of the party had been fulfilled. Accordingly, with everybody satisfied except the theorists, the Tariff dropped out of sight as a bone of contention in 1900.

For a similar reason the currency question no longer absorbed the public mind. The Free-Silver wave had reached its crest and the craze was subsiding. To the masses it had made a certain appeal as a possible means of restoring good times. When they saw the reawakening of business, the reëstablishment of confidence, the vindication of our national credit, the flow of money into the West, making capitalists of the farmers and substituting bank balances for burdensome mortgages, and all the other evidences of prosperity, coming as the result, not of the adoption but of the repudiation of the theories of the Free-Silver orators, they began to wonder whether they had not been deceived. The bankers, it is true, kept watchful eyes lest the heresy were not dead, but the real danger was over.

For the first time since the Civil War, the old bitternesses of sectionalism seemed to have disappeared. The Spanish War brought into the service of the united Nation loyal volunteers from the South as well as from the North, who camped and marched and fought side by side under the flag of their common country. When the President called for volunteers, a little man with a gray beard appeared at the White House one day. “Well, General," said McKinley, "you want to go to war, do you?" "Yes, Mr. President," was the reply. “Atone time I fought against the flag and I want a chance to fight for it before I die." The President responded to this sentiment by making the little man, who was General Joseph Wheeler, a major-general of volunteers. Another famous Confederate officer, General Fitzhugh Lee, was given a similar commission. Congress helped along the fraternal sentiment by passing a law removing the last vestige of a grievance left by

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