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phatic success in an important contested state. Illinois was selected both as a good point of resistance by the opponents of McKinley, and the best point of attack by his friends. The critical contest of the campaign occurred in that state. The local politicians, particularly in and about Chicago, had been pushing the candidacy of Senator Cullom. No basing-point for a McKinley organization could be found in the regular machine, and it was necessary to secure an independent leader, who would pull together the widespread sentiment in favor of McKinley. Such a leader was found in Mr. Charles G. Dawes, the son of General R. Dawes, once a Congressman from an Ohio district. Mr. Dawes, after interviews with both Mr. McKinley and Mr. Hanna, agreed to make the fight, and he was supported vigorously by Mr. Hanna himself. It was generally understood that while McKinley might be nominated without Illinois, the capture of that state would remove any possible doubt as to his triumph. Mr. McKinley himself went to Chicago in February and delivered a speech at the Marquette Club, which helped his candidacy. Mr. Dawes proved to be a capable organizer. The results of the district conventions were favorable; but when the State Convention assembled late in April, the issue was still in doubt. A sharp struggle took place with the result dubious to the last. The margin was so narrow that an accident might tip the scales one way or the other. The fight continued for several days, on the last of which Mr. Hanna sat in his office in the Perry-Payne Building, telephone in hand, from noon until 10 P.m. He did not quit until he had learned that Senator Cullom had withdrawn and the delegates-at-large had been instructed for McKinley. He could go home assured that the project conceived eight years earlier for the nomination of his friend had been successfully accomplished.
Almost the whole cost of the campaign for Mr. McKinley's nomination was paid by Mr. Hanna. Apparently he expected in the beginning to obtain very much more assistance than that which he actually received. Early in 1896, when the demands upon him became very heavy, he cast about for some means of shifting the burden. He seriously considered the possibility of collecting a campaign fund, and had actually made preparations to do so. But further reflection convinced him that to collect a fund for the purpose of nominating a candidate was a different thing from collecting an election fund. The appeal in the former case had to be made on personal rather than party grounds. So he made up his mind to pay the expenses himself. He did receive some help from Mr. McKinley's personal friends in Ohio and elsewhere, but its amount was small compared to the total expenses. First and last Mr. Hanna contributed something over $100,000 toward the expense of the canvass.
One hundred thousand dollars and over is a good deal of money; but it is not too much for the legitimate expenses of nominating a man for President under the convention system. Such a sum would not have gone very far in case corrupt methods had been used. As a matter of fact, corrupt methods were always expressly and absolutely forbidden by Mr. Hanna. Certain of his lieutenants, particularly in the South, would have been glad enough to have plenty of money to spend, but they did not get it. He was continually checking their zeal and refusing or pairing down their applications for funds. He carefully limited the purposes for which alone the money was to be spent. It was to pay the legitimate expenses of his assistants in organizing districts for McKinley in which a sentiment favorable to the candidacy existed. He expressly warns them against any attempt to obtain merely purchasable votes.
A few quotations will illustrate the kind of letters which he wrote to assistants, who were more preoccupied with the money they wanted to spend than they were scrupulous about the methods they used in spending it. On Nov. 5, 1895, he wrote to a correspondent in California: "I am in receipt of your favor of the 28th ult., and your draft for $500, which came to hand to-day, has been paid. The Governor's friends have not been called upon to contribute any money to his campaign, because he is very much averse to that method. Of course I appreciate that it will be necessary to do something towards the actual expenses of those who are willing to give time to his service, and that I am perfectly willing to do, but the use of money to influence votes is not a method that I favor at all. This campaign must not be one in which money is used for other than necessary expenses."
His letters to his lieutenants in the South all run to the same effect. During February and March, 1896, when the combination against McKinley was using every device of the political professional to snatch the delegates away from McKinley, Mr. Hanna was overwhelmed with demands for money from his assistants in the South. He wrote to one correspondent late in January: "You are laboring under the impression that there is a liberal fund provided for distribution. Such is not the case. I am personally providing what seems to be necessary for such expenses as are legitimate. Mr. McKinley is most decidedly opposed to the expenditure of money along the line of purchasing support. Therefore I suggest that in districts where the sentiment is against us, from whatever cause, we had better avoid any fight. We will not find fault with you if you secure no districts which cannot be won on the merits of Mr. McKinley as a candidate." The difficulties under which he labored may be inferred from the following letter, written early in February: "I am in receipt of yours of the 3d and enclose a draft for $500, which is all I can possibly spare for the occasion. The fact is, my friend, I am at a point where I will have to put a stop on expenditures, until some of our friends come to our assistance, which up to date has not been done. Business is as bad as it was in '93, and I have had to borrow this money to send to you. My firm is as hard up as I am." So far from being a campaign in which money was freely disbursed, the fight for Mr. McKinley's nomination was an example of the attainment of a striking political success without any but a very economical expenditure of money.
In a speech made to his friends at the Union Club in Cleveland after the Convention was over, Mr. Hanna declared he had been forbidden by Mr. McKinley to win the nomination by means of any pledge of office or remuneration. There is no evidence either in Mr. Hanna's correspondence or in the testimony of his associates that specific pledges were made to bestow particular offices on particular men. But many promises were undoubtedly made that the local political leaders who worked for Mr. McKinley's nomination would in the event of success be "recognized" in the distribution of Federal patronage. Again and again Mr. Hanna wrote to local politicians who were known to favor Mr. McKinley that if they would organize their district or state in his favor they would be consulted after the election in respect to the appointments. In so wording the promises, Mr. Hanna freed himself and Mr. McKinley from specific obligations. They could always reject any proposed appointment in case it seemed to them unfit. The distinction between making a definite pledge and admitting a general claim for "recognition" has a validity which should not be ignored, even by those who deplore any purchase of political support by the promise of official patronage. The American Civil Service can never become efficient unless such methods are abandoned; but they are deeply rooted in our political practice, and their use was considered necessary to the nomination of Mr. McKinley. They were so essential a part of the political system, to which Mr. Hanna was accustomed, that he would have regarded their scrupulous avoidance as absurd.
In telling his friends at the Union Club that Mr. McKinley had forbidden the purchase of support by specific pledges, Mr. Hanna was probably thinking of the negotiations between himself and the Eastern "bosses." He himself came to recognize that such bargains gravely compromised the public interest; and the lesson which his friend had taught him was one which he did not forget. In the distribution of patronage after the election, most of the men who had contributed effectively to Mr. McKinley's nomination received offices, but in spite of certain mistakes an honest attempt was made to fill the higher offices with able and disinterested public servants. Both the President and his friend knew the value to the administration of good service and the danger of poor service. Under Mr. McKinley's stewardship the country was on the whole well served by its higher executive officials. The earlier mistakes were soon rectified, and the vacated offices were always filled by exceptionally strong administrators.
The promise of Federal offices, like the expenditure of money, played, however, only a subordinate part in the nomination of Mr. McKinley. Some of the other candidates had money to spend and offices to promise; but they could make slight headway by virtue of such paddles. Mr. McKinley had behind him a current of popular favor, which was skilfully and systematically exploited to the very limit. It might have prevailed, even if it had not been exploited, but neither the candidate nor his friend was taking any chances. The final success was overwhelming, because advantage had been seized of every opportunity to make it so. That the opportunities were good does not subtract from the rarity of the achievement. Mr. McKinley and Mr. Hanna succeeded because they deserved to succeed. Back of every substantial success in American politics, one may trace the influence of very personal and human forces, and the Republican nomination of 1896 was no exception. Mr. McKinley was a man who had the faculty of making friends, not because he actually did very much for others, but because of the amiability, the tact and the good taste he showed in all his personal relationships. By virtue of his affability he usually avoided making enemies, even when he failed to make friends. The men who would not fight on his side had no special reason for fighting against him, and he sought to be as scrupulously correct in his political methods as he was scrupulously amiable in his personal relations. Added to this personal availability as a candidate was his equally decisive sectional availability. The Middle West usually furnishes the Republican presidential candidates, because by location and outlook it is more representative of the whole nation than any other part of the country. Its local interests and traditions have something in common with the interests and traditions both of the manufacturing East and the agricultural West. A candidate from an Eastern state, such as Mr. Thomas B. Reed, usually lacks this advantage, and starts for this reason under a grave handicap. The handicap is the more severe in case his state is small and by no means doubtful. Mr. McKinley represented, on the whole, a group of ideas and interests as nearly national as could any political leader of his own generation. Moreover, his personal and local merits as a candidate were raised to a higher power by the course of political and economic history from 1890 to 1895. The panic of '93, the acuteness of the resulting privations and the failure of the Wilson Bill gave real plausibility and enormous political effect to the claim that he was the "advance agent" of prosperity.