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credit system of the country were involved by the issues of the campaign, appeals were made to banks and business men, irrespective of party affiliations, to come to the assistance of the National Committee. Responsible men were appointed to act as local agents in all fruitful neighborhoods for the purpose both of soliciting and receiving contributions. In the case of the banks, a regular assessment was levied, calculated, I believe, at the rate of one-quarter of one per cent of their capital, and this assessment was for the most part paid. It is a matter of public record that large financial institutions such as the life insurance companies, were liberal contributors. The Standard Oil Company gave $250,000, but this particular corporation was controlled by men who knew Mr. Hannaand was unusually generous. Other corporations and many individual capitalists and bankers made substantial but smaller donations. Mr. Hanna always did his best to convert the practice from a matter of political begging on the one side and donating on the other into a matter of systematic assessment according to the means of the individual and institution.
Although the amount of money raised was, as I have said, very much larger than in any previous or in any subsequent campaign, its total has been grossly exaggerated. It has been estimated as high as $12,000,000; but such figures have been quoted only by the yellow journals and irresponsible politicians. A favorite estimate has been $6,000,000 or $7,000,000; but even this figure is almost twice as large as the money actually raised. The audited accounts of the Committee exhibited collections of a little less than $3,500,000, and some of this was not spent. Of this sum a little over $3,000,000 came from New York and its vicinity, and the rest from Chicago and its vicinity. In 1892 the campaign fund had amounted to about $1,500,000, but the Committee had finished some hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. The money raised in New York was spent chiefly in Chicago. To the $335,000 collected in the West $1,565,000 was added from the East, thus bringing the expenditures of the Chicago headquarters up to $1,970,000.
The way in which this money was spent affords a good idea of the scope of the Committee's work. The general office cost about $13,000 in the salaries of the staff and in miscellaneous expenses. The Bureau of Printed Matter spent approximately $472,000 in printing, and $32,000 in salaries and other expenses. The cost of the Bureau of Speakers was $140,000. The shipping department needed some $80,000. About $276,000 was contributed to the assistance of local and special organizations, and no less than $903,000 to the State Committees. These figures are official and confirm what has already been stated. The distribution of pamphlets, the furnishing of speakers and the expenses of organization account for half the expenses of the Chicago headquarters. The State Committees, on whom devolved the work of special canvassing and of getting out the vote, claimed the remainder. A large appropriation to the Congressional Committee was furnished from New York. Towards the end of the campaign money came pouring in so abundantly that the Committee balanced its books with a handsome surplus. It was urged upon Mr. Hanna that out of this surplus he reimburse himself for his expenses in nominating McKinley, but, of course, he refused to consider the suggestion.
The question of political ethics involved by the collection of so much money from such doubtful sources, if it ever was a question, has been settled. American public opinion has emphatically declared that no matter what the emergency, it will not permit the expenses of elections to be met by individuals and corporations which may have some benefit to derive from the result. But in 1896 public opinion had not declared itself, and the campaign fund of that year was unprecedented only in its size. It resulted from the development of a practice of long standing, founded on a real need of money with which to pay election expenses, and shared wherever opportunity permitted by both political parties. Mr. Hanna merely systematized and developed a practice which was rooted deep in contemporary American political soil, and which was sanctioned both by custom and, as he believed, by necessity.
The unnecessary complications of the American electoral system, requiring as it does the transaction of an enormous amount of political business, resulted inevitably in the development of political professionalism and in large election expenses. In the beginning these expenses were paid chiefly by candidates for office or office-holders. When supplies from this source were diminished, while at the same time expenses were increasing, politicians naturally sought some other sources of income, and they found one of unexpected volume in the assessments which they could levy upon business men and corporations, which might be injured or benefited by legislative action. The worst form which the practice took consisted in the regular contribution by certain large corporations to the local machines of both parties for the purpose either of protection against legislative annoyance or for the purchase of favors. During the latter part of the eighties and the early nineties this practice of bipartisan contributions prevailed in all those states in which many corporations existed and in which the parties were evenly divided in strength.
We have seen that an essential and a useful part of Mark Hanna's political activity had been connected with the collection of election expenses for the Republican party in Cleveland and Ohio. Under prevailing conditions his combination of personal importance both in business and in politics was bound to result in some such connection. But he had never been associated with the least defensible phase of the practice — viz. that of contributing to both machines for exclusively business purposes. He was a Republican by conviction, and he spent his own money and collected money from others for the purpose of electing Republican candidates to office. As he became prominent in politics, however, it so happened that the business interests of the country came to rely more and more on the Republican party. It was the organization which supported the protective tariff which was more likely to control legislation in the wealthier states, and which finally declared in favor of the gold standard. The Republican party became the representative of the interests and needs of American business, and inevitably American business men came liberally to its support. Their liberality was increased because of the personal confidence of the business leaders in Mr. Hanna's efficiency and good faith, and because in 1896 these leaders, irrespective of partisan ties, knew that the free coinage of silver would be disastrous to the credit and prosperity of the country. In that year the Republicans happened to be entirely right and the Democrats entirely wrong upon a dominant economic issue. The economic inexperience and immaturity of large parts of the United States and the readiness of a section of the American people to follow untrustworthy leadership in economic matters, had given legitimate business an essential interest in the triumph of one of the political parties. Business men can scarcely be blamed for fighting the heresy in the only probably effective manner.
Mark Hanna's reputation has suffered because of his connection with this system, but closely associated as he was with it, he is not to be held responsible for its blameworthy aspects. All he did was to make it more effective by virtue of his able expenditure of the money, of his systematization of the collections, and by the confidence he inspired that the money would be well spent. The real responsibility is much more widely distributed. The system was the inevitable result of the political organization and ideas of the American democracy and the relation which had come to prevail between the American political and economic life. As soon as it began to work in favor of only one of the two political parties it was bound to be condemned by public opinion; but the methods adopted to do away with it may be compared to an attempt to obliterate the pest of flies merely by the slaughter of the insects. The question of how necessarily heavy election expenses are to be paid, particularly in exciting and closely contested campaigns, has been hitherto evaded.
Mr. Hanna's opponents have, however, made him individually and in a sense culpably responsible for a traditional relation between politics and business. The economic issue dividing the parties in 1896 was easily perverted into a class issue, and the class issue was exploited for all it was worth by the other side. The vituperation which the representatives of the poor are privileged to pour out on the representatives of the wellto-do was concentrated on Mark Hanna. He became the victim of a series of personal attacks, which for their persistence, their falsity and their malignancy have rarely been equalled in the history of political invective. Mark Hanna was quoted and pictured to his fellow-countrymen as a sinister, corrupt type of the Money-man in politics—unscrupulous, inhumanly selfish, the sweater of his own employees, the relentless enemy of organized labor, the besotted plutocrat, the incarnate dollar-mark.
The peculiar malignancy of these attacks was due partly to certain undesirable innovations which had recently appeared in American journalism. Mr. William R. Hearst was beginning his career as a political yellow journalist. He was the first newspaper publisher to divine how much of an opportunity had been offered to sensational journalism by the increasing economic and political power of American wealth; and he divined also that the best way to use the opportunity would be to attach individual responsibility to the worst aspects of a system. The system must be concentrated in a few conspicuous individual examples, and they must be ferociously abused and persistently villified. The campaign of 1896 offered a rare chance to put this discovery into practice, and inevitably Mr. McKinley and Mr. Hanna, as the most conspicuous Republican leaders, were selected as the best victims of assault.
The personal attack on Mark Hanna was begun somewhat before Mr. McKinley's nomination. Early in 1896 Alfred Henry Lewis had published in the New York Journal an article claiming to be an interview with Mr. Hanna and making him appear as a fool and a braggart. In a letter to the owner of the Journal, Mr. Hanna protested vigorously against the misrepresentation, but without effect. Later the personal attack upon him was reduced to a system. For a while Mr. Lewis appears to have been stationed in Cleveland in order to tell lies about him. He was depicted as a monster of sordid and ruthless selfishness, who fattened himself and other men on the flesh and blood of the common people. This picture of the man was stamped sharply on the popular consciousness by the powerful but brutal caricatures of Homer Davenport. Day after day he was portrayed with perverted ability and ingenuity as a Beast of Greed; until little by little a certain section of public opinion became infected by the poison. Journals of similar tendencies elsewhere in the country followed the lead with less ability and malignancy but with similar persistence.
When these attacks began Mr. Hanna was strongly tempted to bring suit for libel and to cause the arrest of Alfred Henry Lewis; but after consulting with his friends he decided that