In 1892, after four years of Republican leadership, the parties once again ran Harrison and Cleveland. This time, it was the Republican Party that stood in disarray and on the defensive. Moreover, a third party had emerged on the scene: the People's Party (or Populist Party), composed of western populists and southern supporters of the Farmers' Alliance. The Populists gave their nomination to James B. Weaver of Iowa, who had run previously as a Greenbacker (a party that favored the printing of paper currency with no gold backing).

Although the Populist surge carried five states and more than 8 percent of the total vote, Cleveland won with 46 percent of the popular vote to Harrison's 43 percent. The electoral tally gave Cleveland 277, Harrison 145, and Weaver 22. The Democrats also regained both houses of Congress.

In assessing the 1892 election, the Republicans' poor showing in the Midwest among ethnic voters, including Germans and Irish, probably reflected the party's identification with temperance. Also, Republican votes had plummeted in the South as African Americans were disfranchised by various Jim Crow laws (poll taxes, literacy tests, and residency requirements). Additionally, the McKinley Tariff of 1890, a Republican piece of legislation, led to higher prices and wage cuts in select industries, infuriating large segments of the public.

Source: Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. “Grover Cleveland: Campaigns and Elections.” Accessed May 23, 2016.­/president/biography/cleveland-campaigns-and-elections.


Anonymous. 1892. "Republican platform and presidential nominees." Beckerman Bothers. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540

Joseph Ferdinand Keppler. 1892. "The Raven." Puck. Lithograph. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540