1892

THEO LIPPMAN JR.

September 29, 1992|By Theo Lippman Jr.

This is the 52nd presidential election. -- The 27th involved the same opponents as the last time, plus one. Former President Grover Cleveland tried to oust the man who had ousted him, President Benjamin Harrison.

The main issue was again the tariff. President Harrison endorsed a protectionist measure passed two years before by the Republican Congress. Cleveland attacked it as harmful to labor.

A third party -- the Populists -- with a base among unhappy laborers and farmers, arose in 1892. It was well ahead of its time, favoring not only inflationary currency based on silver but also a graduated income tax and nationalizing of railroads.

Cleveland won in a near landslide that would have been a rout if the Populist voters in the West had gone to him. (Most became Democrats in subsequent presidential elections.)

The campaign was cut short when First Lady Caroline Harrison died in late October and the candidates suspended operations.

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