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 Representative 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.
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.
The early favorite for the nomination was James G. Blaine. After he disclaimed interest, several candidates vied for the prize, with the frontrunners being Russell A. Alger, Walter Q. Gresham, Chauncey Depew, and John Sherman. After several ballots, none of the leading candidates was able to obtain a majority. Benjamin Harrison, who had served in the U.S. Senate from 1881 to 1887, but had lost reelection after the Democrats gained control of the Indiana legislature, was a dark horse candidate. Republicans were dispirited after losing the presidency in 1884 and were attracted to Harrison because of the speech announcing his presidential candidacy, in which he described himself as a "living and rejuvenated Republican." Harrison won the nomination on the eighth ballot and "Rejuvenated Republicanism" became the party's campaign slogan.
|Russell A. Alger||84||116||122||135||142||137||120||100|
|Walter Q. Gresham||111||108||123||98||87||91||91||59|
|William B. Allison||72||75||88||88||99||73||76||0|
|James G. Blaine||35||33||35||42||48||40||15||5|
|John James Ingalls||28||16||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jeremiah McLain Rusk||25||20||16||0||0||0||0||0|
|William Walter Phelps||25||18||5||0||0||0||0||0|
|Edwin Henry Fitler||24||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Robert Todd Lincoln||3||2||2||1||0||0||2||0|
|Samuel Freeman Miller||0||0||2||0||0||0||0||0|
|Joseph B. Foraker||0||0||0||1||0||1||1||0|
|Frederick Dent Grant||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0|
Vice Presidential nomination
Former Representative and Minister to France Levi P. Morton from New York was asked to accept the nomination. He had been asked in 1880, but had declined. This time Morton decided to accept. He was easily elected on the first ballot.
|Vice Presidential Ballot|
|Levi P. Morton||591|
|William Walter Phelps||119|
|William O'Connell Bradley||103|
|Blanche K. Bruce||11|
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 antitrust 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.
- History of the United States Republican Party
- List of Republican National Conventions
- U.S. presidential nomination convention
- 1888 United States presidential election
- 1888 Democratic National Convention
- Official Proceedings of the Republican National Convention Held at Chicago, June 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 25, 1888 Archived 2008-08-29 at the Wayback Machine
- Girard, Jolyon P. (2019). Presidents and Presidencies in American History. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. pp. 700–701. ISBN 978-1-4408-6591-6.
- Spetter, Allan B. (2019). "Benjamin Harrison: Campaigns and Elections". U.S. Presidents. Charlottesville, VA: Miller Center, University of Virginia. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
- Historeian of the U.S. Senate. "Levi Parsons Morton, 22nd Vice President (1889-1893)". Senate.gov. Washington, DC: United States Senate. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
- ALGER ANSWERS SHERMAN; Denial that Southern Delegates Sold Their Votes. THE SENATOR'S CHARGES REFUTED In an Autograph Letter He Practically Withdrew His Charge of Unfairness -- Gen. Sherman Not Opposed to the Purchase of Votes.
- SHERMAN TO ALGER.
- Republican Party platform of 1888 at The American Presidency Project
- Harrison acceptance letter at The American Presidency Project
- Guide to the Republican National Convention Collection 1884-1888 at the University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center
|Republican National Conventions||Succeeded by|