1896 Election Results McKinley vs Bryan

In 1893, one of the most severe economic crises in US history developed. The nation found itself in a deep depression. President Cleveland blamed the depression on the move to accept silver currency. As a result, business confidence was weakened. Cleveland’s solution was a repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act. and thus a return to a currency supported only by gold. Repealing the Silver Purchase Act resulted in a tightening of the supply of currency. This only served to worsen the economic situation.

Democrats lost control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives in the 1994 Congressional election. When the party met for their convention in Chicago, the party was ready for a change. William Jennings Bryan gave an electrifying speech and became the party's nominee. The party adopted a platform favoring free sliver. The Populist Party decided to support Bryan. The Populist Party chose not to run a nominee of their own.

Republicans nominated the popular Governor of Ohio, William McKinley, on the first ballot. McKinley was backed by Marcus Hanna, a wealthy industrialist, and Chairman of the Republican Party. The 1896 presidential campaign was marked by contrasts. William Jennings Bryan criss-crossed the country making personal appearances. He was accused of lacking dignity. Bryan answered: "I would rather have it said that I lacked dignity, than that I lacked backbone to meet the enemies of the government who works against its welfare from Wall Street". McKinley stayed home and ran a front porch campaign. Thousands of people came to his home and heard him speak. In the campaign Bryan was depicted as a "radical and a socialist", while McKinley was called a "tool of business". In this election, money played an important role, for the first time, in a political campaign. McKinley raised $3 million (mostly from business interests), compared to $600,000 raised by Bryan. Bryan was able to win almost all of the states of the West. However, Bryan had almost no success in the growing industrial cities of the East. The result of the election showed how the farmers’ vote was no longer decisive. By 1896, only 1/3 of Americans lived on farms. It was also clear that the number of Americans living on farms was dropping rapidly. McKinley won the election.

 

Particpation of Eligible Voters:79.3%

Democratic Convention
Republican Convention

 

State results in 1884

Electoral Results in 1896

Alabama William McKinley 55,673 28.6 William Bryan 130,298 67.0 John Palmer 6,375 3.3 Joshua Levering 2,234 1.1
Arkansas William McKinley 37,512 25.1 William Bryan 110,103 73.7 John Palmer - Joshua Levering 889 0.6
California William McKinley 146,756 49.1 William Bryan 144,877 48.5 John Palmer 1,730 0.6 Joshua Levering 2,573 0.9
Colorado William McKinley 26,271 13.9 William Bryan 161,005 84.9 John Palmer 1 Joshua Levering 1,717 0.9
Connecticut William McKinley 110,285 63.2 William Bryan 56,740 32.5 John Palmer 4,336 2.5 Joshua Levering 1,806 1.0
Delaware William McKinley 20,450 53.2 William Bryan 16,574 43.1 John Palmer 966 2.5 Joshua Levering 466 1.2
Florida William McKinley 11,298 24.3 William Bryan 32,756 70.5 John Palmer 1,778 3.8 Joshua Levering 656 1.4
Georgia William McKinley 59,395 36.6 William Bryan 93,885 57.8 John Palmer 3,670 2.3 Joshua Levering 5,483 3.4
Idaho William McKinley 6,324 21.3 William Bryan 23,135 78.1 John Palmer - Joshua Levering 172 0.6
Illinois William McKinley 607,130 55.7 William Bryan 465,593 42.7 John Palmer 6,307 0.6 Joshua Levering 9,796 0.9
Indiana William McKinley 323,754 50.8 William Bryan 305,538 48.0 John Palmer 2,145 0.3 Joshua Levering 3,061 0.5
Iowa William McKinley 289,293 55.5 William Bryan 223,744 42.9 John Palmer 4,516 0.9 Joshua Levering 3,192 0.6
Kansas William McKinley 159,484 47.5 William Bryan 173,049 51.5 John Palmer 1,209 0.4 Joshua Levering 1,723 0.5
Kentucky William McKinley 218,171 48.9 William Bryan 217,894 48.9 John Palmer 5,084 1.1 Joshua Levering 4,779 1.1
Louisiana William McKinley 22,037 21.8 William Bryan 77,175 76.4 John Palmer 1,834 1.8 Joshua Levering -
Maine William McKinley 80,403 67.9 William Bryan 34,587 29.2 John Palmer 1,867 1.6 Joshua Levering 1,562 1.3
Maryland William McKinley 136,959 54.7 William Bryan 104,150 41.6 John Palmer 2,499 1.0 Joshua Levering 5,918 2.4
Massachusetts William McKinley 278,976 69.5 William Bryan 105,414 26.3 John Palmer 11,749 2.9 Joshua Levering 2,998 0.7
Michigan William McKinley 293,336 53.8 William Bryan 237,164 43.5 John Palmer 6,923 1.3 Joshua Levering 4,978 0.9
Minnesota William McKinley 193,503 56.6 William Bryan 139,735 40.9 John Palmer 3,222 0.9 Joshua Levering 4,348 1.3
Mississippi William McKinley 4,819 6.9 William Bryan 63,355 91.0 John Palmer 1,021 1.5 Joshua Levering 396 0.6
Missouri William McKinley 304,940 45.2 William Bryan 363,667 54.0 John Palmer 2,365 0.4 Joshua Levering 2,169 0.3
Montana William McKinley 10,509 19.7 William Bryan 42,628 79.9 John Palmer - Joshua Levering 193 0.4
Nebraska William McKinley 103,064 46.2 William Bryan 115,007 51.5 John Palmer 2,885 1.3 Joshua Levering 1,242 0.6
Nevada William McKinley 1,938 18.8 William Bryan 8,348 81.2 John Palmer - Joshua Levering -
New Hampshire William McKinley 57,444 68.7 William Bryan 21,650 25.9 John Palmer 3,520 4.2 Joshua Levering 779 0.9
Now Jersey William McKinley 221,367 59.7 William Bryan 133,675 36.0 John Palmer 6,373 1.7 Joshua Levering -
New York William McKinley 819,838 57.6 William Bryan 551,369 38.7 John Palmer 18,950 1.3 Joshua Levering 16,052 1.1
North Carolina William McKinley 155,122 46.8 William Bryan 174,408 52.6 John Palmer 578 0.2 Joshua Levering 635 0.2
North Dakota William McKinley 26,335 55.6 William Bryan 20,686 43.6 John Palmer - Joshua Levering 358 0.8
Ohio William McKinley 525,991 51.9 William Bryan 477,497 47.1 John Palmer 1,858 0.2 Joshua Levering 5,068 0.5
Oregon William McKinley 48,700 50.0 William Bryan 46,739 4&0 John Palmer 977 1.0 Joshua Levering 919 0.9
Pennsylvania William McKinley 728,300 61.0 William Bryan 433,228 36.3 John Palmer 11,000 0.9 Joshua Levering 19,274 1.6
Rhode Island William McKinley 37,437 68.3 William Bryan 14,459 26.4 John Palmer 1,166 2.1 Joshua Levering 1,160 2.1
South Carolina William McKinley 9,313 13.5 William Bryan 58,801 85.3 John Palmer 824 1.2 Joshua Levering -
South Dakota William McKinley 41,040 49.5 William Bryan 41,225 49.7 John Palmer - Joshua Levering 672 0.8
Tennessee William McKinley 148,683 46.3 William Bryan 167,168 52.1 John Palmer 1,953 0.6 Joshua Levering 3,099 1.0
Texas William McKinley 163,894 30.3 William Bryan 370,308 68.4 John Palmer 5,022 0.9 Joshua Levering 1,794 0.3
Utah William McKinley 13,491 17.3 William Bryan 64,607 82.7 John Palmer - Joshua Levering -
Vermont William McKinley 51,127 80.4 William Bryan 10,367 16.3 John Palmer 1,341 2.1 Joshua Levering 733 1.2
Virginia William McKinley 135,379 45.9 William Bryan 154,708 52.5 John Palmer 2,129 0.7 Joshua Levering 2,350 0.8
Washington William McKinley 39,153 41.8 William Bryan 53,314 57.0 John Palmer - Joshua Levering 968 1.0
West Virginia William McKinley 105,379 52.2 William Bryan 94,480 46.8 John Palmer 678 O~3 Joshua Levering 1,220 0.6
Wisconsin William McKinley 268,135 59.9 William Bryan 165,523 37.0 John Palmer 4,584 1.0 Joshua Levering 7,507 1.7
Wyoming William McKinley 10,072 47.8 William Bryan 10,862 51.6 John Palmer - Joshua Levering 133 0.6