Publisher: McFarland & Company, Inc.
Publication Date: November 24, 2015
Length: 298 pages, with 44 photographs and illustrations
Print ISBN: 978-1-4766-6312-8
EBook ISBN: 978-1-4766-2305-4
1. 1876: Centennial Showdown
2. 1880: All Generals to the Front
3. 1884: Democrats Back in Charge
4. 1888: Harrison vs. Cleveland - Round One
5. 1892: Harrison vs. Cleveland - Rematch
6. 1896: McKinley vs. Bryan - Round One
7. 1990: McKinley vs. Bryan - Rematch
President-Making in the Gilded Age analyzes the second generation of presidential nominating conventions from the election of 1876 until the beginning of the twentieth century. In this era, during which there were no primaries, no candidate debates and, with a few exceptions, little active campaigning by nominees, the conventions were the highlight of the election process and their outcome was frequently unknown. The leading politicians of the era for the Republicans were James G. Blaine of Maine and William McKinley of Ohio. For the Democrats, they were Samuel J. Tilden and Grover Cleveland, both of New York, and William Jennings Bryan of Nebraska. Although historians consider the Gilded Age an era of political corruption, when party bosses controlled the conventions and chose the nominees, this book shows that the nominees chosen in this era generally won their nominations over the opposition of the bosses of each party. This study analyzes the pageantry, drama, speeches, strategies, platform and deal-making of presidential politics in the Gilded Age, debunking many widely-held beliefs about a much-maligned era.