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The election in 1900 was strikingly similar to its predecessor; the major candidates, issues and results were much the same.

William McKinley, the incumbent, was easily renominated. A new vice-presidential nominee was needed: Garret Hobart had died. McKinley expressed no preference and left the matter in the convention's hands. Theodore Roosevelt, governor of New York and hero of the Spanish-American War, was selected, bringing youth and vigor to the ticket.

The Republicans portrayed themselves as the party of the "full dinner pail," an appeal to working men in a time of prosperity.

Not all in the Democratic Party were anxious to provide a second opportunity for William Jennings Bryan. These conservatives contacted Cmd. George Dewey, another hero of the recent war, who initially declined in the grounds of insufficient background. He changed his mind and thoughtlessly wrote to his backers, "I am convinced that the office of the president is not such a very difficult one to fill." Word of Dewey's statement became public and his support evaporated. Bryan was easily nominated by the convention.

During the campaign, the Democrats ran primarily on anti-imperialism and opposition to the gold standard. Unfortunately, the silver issue was exhausted by 1900 and did little to increase Democratic popularity. Bryan probably had a valid point earlier in his career when he argued that there were insufficient supplies of gold to conduct the world's business. However, this was not the case following gold strikes in the Klondike, South Africa and Australia. Bryan was undeterred and conducted another demanding campaign, traveling throughout the country and delivering more than 600 speeches.

Once again, McKinley did not campaign actively. The strong economy spoke volumes about Republican leadership and their victory was more convincing than four years previously. Bryan was unable to broaden his appeal; anti-imperialism and silver failed to move the voters.

Election of 1900
Candidates

Party

Electoral Vote

Popular
Vote

William McKinley (OH)
Theodore Roosevelt (NY)

Republican

292

7,207,923

William Jennings Bryan (NE)
Adlai E. Stevenson (IL)

Democratic

155

6,358,138

John G. Woolley (IL)
Herbert B. Metcalf (OH)

Prohibition

0

208,914

Eugene V. Debs (IN)
Job Harriman (CA)

Social
Democratic

0

87,814

Wharton Barker (PA)
Ignatius Donnelly (MN)

People's
(Populist)

0

50,373


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