President Infinity 1892 Election


*This scenario was greatly updated by the Historical Scenario Commission on August 24, 2017. It can be downloaded here: United States – 1892 v. 2.0

The 1892 election takes place during the Gilded Age, when the major political topics were bimetalism, tariff reform and corruption. President Benjamin Harrison is the incumbent president; however, his first term has been somewhat unpopular among those impacted by the very high McKinley Tariff (named after the future president).

For Republicans, the establishment is rallying around President Harrison, but he faces many delegates from his party hoping to dump him in favor of other popular candidates. Former Republican nominee, and leader of the moderate Republicans, James G. Blaine is one of the “Dump Harrison” candidates, while Governor William McKinley is the favorite “Dump Harrison” nominee among more conservative Republicans.

The Democrats have their own problems. A former president, Grover Cleveland, is the favorite among the conservative and pro-gold, Bourbon Democrat faction, which supports businesses, while pro-Labor, pro-bimetalism Democrats favor Horace Boies. In addition, David B. Hill hopes to be a reform option and Adlai Stevenson is a pro-silver choice for some delegates. Two Bourbon Democrat leaders, John Carlisle and Arthur Gorman, hope to take the leadership position from Grover Cleveland.

The election has a strong third party in the Populist Party, led by James Weaver. The are pro-silver and pro-labor, and they have their support mostly in the West and in the South. Their numbers include many former Democrats and former Republicans. The Prohibition Party is the other third party in this scenario.

This election allows for many what-ifs:

  • What if former speaker of the house, Thomas Brackett Reed ran?
  • What if Abraham Lincoln’s son, Ambassador Robert Todd Lincoln, listened to his supporters and jumped into the race?
  • Senator John Sherman, the brother of General William Tecumseh Sherman, was arguably the most powerful senator at the time, giving his name to the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Could he be the moderate Republican needed to win the election? He declined to run in real life.
  • Rep. Henry Cabot Lodge was the leading proponent for American imperialism. Can an aggressive foreign policy hawk win an election in 1892?
  • Governor Robert Pattison was a popular, moderate Democrat. Could he hold the two wings of the party together?
  • Richard P. Bland was the leading Silverite (pro-silver) Democrat in congress. Would he be able to win over Populists to the party, without losing Bourbon Democrats to the Republican Party?
  • Leonidas Polk was the front-runner for the Populist Party, but he died. What if he had lived? Could he have increased the party’s fortunes?

Feedback is desired. Updates will be forthcoming.

19 thoughts on “President Infinity 1892 Election”

  1. Thank you of adding L.L. Polk. Born in the county next to mine in NC and named a town for himself. His name graces the east campus of my community college.

  2. Distantly I believe. L.L. Polk was at Gettysburg and wounded during the Civil War. He was distantly related to James K. Polk who was almost baptized at my old church….his father was a staunch Deist and his baptism didn’t occur until his death

  3. That’s pretty awesome. I know General Polk was a not too distant cousin of president Polk.

  4. I think they are all related distantly. James K. Polk’s great uncle signed the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence and James K. Polk is a distant relative of Christian reformer John Knox. Andrew Jackson’s mom and dad are buried not far from me and I hope to visit them soon.

  5. Polk is one of my favorite Presidents. He accomplished more in four years than most do in eight

  6. I say he deserved a lot of credit for sticking with his platform and fulfilling it, as well as stepping down after 4 years. I like him for that, but I would have probably been a Whig or Free Soiler and opposed to the Mexican War and I would have urged internal improvements and the containment and eventual removal of slavery. Although, I was born in Texas, I feel like I’ve inherited a lot of my Massachusetts ancestors’ mentalities. I think John Quincy Adams would have been an ideal president if he had a better personality. We probably would have been industrialized and competing with Europe at least a decade earlier, if not more. He was the first president that really attempted to modernize the country to make it on par with England and France. However, I see a lot of value in many of the Democratic candidates of the time as well, such as Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Polk, and even Jackson, at times, outside his native american policy.

  7. I had ancestors who campaigned for Lincoln so I would be in the same boat. Quincy Adams to me was one of those who wasn’t meant for the White House (like Ted Kennedy). He did amazing things post-presidency including being a lawyer for The Armistead crew. I always like to thing of candidates who never won but would have made great presidents like Winfield Scott Hancock or John Glenn.

  8. Wow, great suggestion. I’ll check it out. I’m most interested in those earlier presidents leading up to the war.

  9. It was fasinting to see a different side of political history. That was the only time in American history to have 5 living former presidents, and some wanted to use it as leverage to counter and stop Lincoln

  10. Great conversation in this thread, but unfortunately I need to poop on the party a little bit.

    I was playing through as the Populists and there is some problem with advertising. When you play the seven-day week mode and start running at ad, by the end of the week, the ad only ran on one of the days (it says, “ran 1/5 times”) and each time at the beginning of the week when you tell it again to run, it again will only run for one day. I’ve never seen this problem before, but it actually is ‘halted’ by the game, even if you have enough funds for the ad and it has not backfired. This problem is also not present in other scenarios of the same era.

    However I have only played through as the Populists, so it may be unique to them. I will continue testing and make a note if it is different under other circumstances.

  11. Socialist Labor – Simon Wing
    Prohibition – John Bidwell, Gideon T. Stewart, William Jennings Demorest
    Populist – James H. Kyle

  12. David Hill was Cleveland’s strongest challenger for the nomination at the convention. He offered the VP spot, should he win the nomination, to Donald Dickinson, the former Postmaster General.

  13. Oh, also, Isaac P. Gray was considered the favorite by the Cleveland faction for the VP nomination.

  14. Just read something neat. John Palmer wqs considered a potential Democratic candidate, with Massachusetts governor William Allen as his VP.

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