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All elections have many issues surrounding them But none have had as many as the election of 1896 In my mind the Depression was by far the largest issue in the election but there were many other smaller issues such as the gold vs silver standard also played a major role in the candidates campaignsThe prior president Grover Cleveland had only worsened the economic standing in the United States by focusing all his efforts on the Silver Purchase Act By doing this he lost his democratic supporters This gave republicans great hopes for the upcoming election The republicans nominee for president was a man name William McKinley who was a congressman and a two time governor of Ohio The democrats surprisingly nominated a congressman named William Jennings Bryan Most people did not see Bryan as presidential material Although he surprised many people by giving one of the most famous speeches of all time supporting silver and attacking the GoldbugsMcKinleys campaign strategy was to reach voters through a sophisticated mass-media which was financed by huge corporations such as Standard Oil and major rail roads McKinley was being advertised as the advance agent of prosperity McKinley also supported not only the business classes but also the unemployed workers promising them a full lunch pail Bryans strategy was to support the silver which supported the lower classes claiming free silver would lead to inflation and more disaster Unlike McKinley instead of staying at his home Bryan traveled to twenty-seven states and speaking to three million people With the election in the near future many influential easterners thought Bryans platform would disrupt social harmony Others labeled Bryan as a madman or anarchist Because of the major interest in the election record number of voters were expected When the voting was in McKinley had won by a landslide margin 271 electoral votes to Bryans 176In McKinleys platform he had promised that the Republican rule meant prosperity and he kept his
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