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on the defensive. They took the aggressive, brushed aside the tariff issue and placed the Republicans on the defensive by declaring that the existing gold standard must be abandoned. The final effect of their action was to set up against a rich man's cure for the business depression a poor man's cure, and thereby to convert a controversy over a technical economic question into a sectional and class conflict. This transformation of the issue between the parties had such momentous consequences, not merely on the subsequent campaign, but upon the personal career of Mark Hanna, that in the sequel it will have to be examined with some care.
On the day, however, that Mr. McKinley was nominated it looked as if the nomination was equivalent to election; and the delegates were thinking more of celebrating their performance than of casting gloomy forebodings towards the future. The celebration began not unnaturally with the offer of congratulations to the hero of the occasion, who, in the eyes of many of the delegates, was as much Mark Hanna as it was William McKinley. In the extent to which Mr. Hanna had contributed to his friend's nomination, the delegates recognized that they were confronted by a new thing under the sun of politics, and behind the new thing was a new man. The general appreciation of Mr. Hanna's performance could not be expressed with entire frankness, but during the regular process of making the nomination of Mr. McKinley unanimous, it did receive a certain outlet. The official report reads as follows: "A general call from all parts of the Hall was then heard for Mr. Hanna, who finally yielded to the entreaties of the audience and arose and said: —
"'Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Convention: I am glad that there was one member of this Convention who has the intelligence at this late hour to ascertain how this nomination was made — by the people. What feeble efforts I may have contributed to the result, I am here to lay the fruits of it at the feet of my party and upon the altar of my country. [Applause.] I am ready now to take my position in the ranks alongside of my friend, General Henderson, and all other good Republicans from every state and do the duty of a soldier until next November.' [Great applause.]"
Mark Hanna was, however, not to return to the ranks as long as he lived. He was undoubtedly right in saying that McKinley had been the choice of a larger number of Republican voters than any other candidate: but no one knew better than himself that their choice might not have received effective expression, had it not been reenforced by very able and resolute assistance from Mr. McKinley himself and from Mr. McKinley's "confidential friend," Mark Hanna. The Republican leaders were also fully conscious of the ability with which the canvass had been managed, and they realized that even though Mr. McKinley were the popular choice for President as well as for Republican nominee, it would not do any harm to lend the people some effective help in making their preference good. Mr. Hanna, both by his personal relations with the candidate and his proved ability as a political organizer, was marked as the director of the campaign of 1896. He was immediately selected as chairman of the National Committee, which was, of course, absolutely in accordance with Mr. McKinley's own wishes and intentions. Instead of retiring to the ranks, he became the field general of the whole army — a position for which his peculiar training and gifts had made him extraordinarily fit. He was an expert in organization, whose success in business had been based upon his ability to communicate his personal energy to a many-headed human machine. The work on behalf of Mr. McKinley's nomination had placed him closely in touch with local political conditions in many of the most important states in the Union. Finally he had an instinctive grasp upon the human factors which at once complicate a political situation and endow it with humor and life. He never made a move in politics without feeling around for the support of a sufficient body of public opinion. He had just given an excellent illustration of his gift for the most effective kind of political management by arranging that the Convention declare for the single gold standard in a manner which caused the smallest possible friction within the party and the smallest possible loss of prestige to Mr. McKinley. The campaign was to afford him an opportunity of so managing that the claims of Mr. McKinley for election and the superiority of the Republican platform were properly placed before a bewildered and hesitating electorate.
The ovation tendered him by the Convention was the first of several which showed the popular appreciation of his contribution to Mr. McKinley's nomination. When he returned to Cleveland, he was greeted by his townsfolk as a conquering hero. A huge crowd met him at the railroad station, cheered themselves hoarse, tried to listen to a few words of thanks and escorted him through the city to his own house. On the margin of the crowd was an old friend, who had not done as well in the world as had Mark Hanna — Mr. A. B. Hough. When Mr. Hough saw the greeting which the King-maker was receiving, he began to wonder whether the big man's head would be turned, and how far he would foregather with the less conspicuous of his former friends. He soon learned. Mark Hanna spotted Mr. Hough as he rode past in the street and immediately greeted him: "Hello, Hough!" Then inflating his chest he pointed to himself with mock pride and added: "Big Injun! Me Big Injun!"
The short speech which he made on this occasion deserves to be quoted in full:—
"Mr. Chairman and Fellow-members of the Tippecanoe Club: This unexpected and almost overpowering reception robs me of what little power of speech I had left. I had little idea that anything I had done entitled me to such distinguished consideration. True, I have been for a number of months associated with a cause dear to the heart of every honest Republican in Ohio and every patriotic citizen of the United States. I entered upon that work because of my love for William McKinley. No ambition even for honors such as are being accorded to me on this occasion prompted me. I acted out of love for my friend and devotion to my country. I lay no claim to the honors you have accorded to me. I could have done nothing without the people. All I have done is to help the people in gaining a result upon which they were united — the accession to the presidency of William McKinley."
On the evening of Saturday, June 27, he was tendered a dinner at the Union Club by his lifelong friends and associates. It was attended by all the men in Cleveland among whom and with whom he had worked for forty years, and the warmth with which they congratulated him on his success must have been peculiarly gratifying to a man like Mr. Hanna, whose better life was composed so essentially of personal ties. The dinner was private, but a version of the speech with which Mr. Hanna responded to the congratulations of his friends was published the next day. All agree that in making his short reply he was almost overpowered by his feelings. "He said that to him the greatest recompense for years of hard work was to know that his friends indorsed that work. He had acted simply as an American citizen and not as a politician or 'Boss.' He was not a politician or 'Boss,' never desired to be one, never would be one. He responded to the voice of the American people, and felt that in his final success in the nomination of William McKinley his work was to a great degree accomplished. When the question of the candidacy of his friend was broached, McKinley had said in his conversation with him that he would not accept the nomination subject to a single pledge to any man of office or remuneration. Mr. Hanna told his friends that the conversation had made of him a better man and had changed the current of his thought."
THE CAMPAIGN OF 1896
When Mr. Hanna was selected as chairman of the Republican National Committee, no one anticipated how grave and difficult his task would be. As I have said, the action of the Democratic Convention took the country by surprise and completely upset the calculations and plans of the Republican leaders. They had never suspected that the currency issue, even if made decisive, would entirely supersede the tariff issue. They never anticipated that by virtue of the currency issue the Democrats would be able to make political capital out of a period of economic privation, which had been appropriated for the political benefit of the Republicans and particularly of Mr. McKinley. A few weeks before the Republican Convention it looked like plain sailing for the Republican nominee. A week after the Democratic Convention it looked as if by sheer audacity and misguided enthusiasm the Democrats had obtained the right of way, and that the Boy Orator would be carried into the White House on a flood of popular discontent.
In July, 1896, no one could gauge accurately the actual range and force of this discontent. No one could estimate how far its ignorance could be enlightened or its impetus diverted. No one could tell with any confidence what effect Mr. Bryan's gallant and strenuous appeal to the American people would have upon the actual vote. But the extreme gravity of the situation was manifest. Many of the men most familiar with the situation believe that if the election had been held in August, or even in September, the Democratic candidate would have triumphed. Mr. Hanna himself inclined to this opinion. Mr. McKinley was gravely concerned, and chided certain of his friends for their participation in the decisive definition of the currency issue. In order to save the situation enormous exertions would be required, as well as a plan of campaign for which