1924 Republican Convention - History

1924 Republican Convention - History

1924 republican Convention

Cleveland, OH
June 10 to 12, 1924

Nominated: Calvin Coolidge of Massachusetts for President
Nominated: Charles G Dawes of Ill for Vice President

By the time Republicans had met in Cleveland, President Coolidge had successfuly established himself as the leader of the party. He was nominated without opposition. The theme at the convention- "stay cool with Coolidge."


Vintage Ads from the 1936 and 1924 Republican National Conventions in Cleveland (slideshow)

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- During the 1924 and 1936 Republic National Conventions, an array of advertisements in The Plain Dealer used political themes. Today they reveal bits of Cleveland history that take us back in time.

The political contest in Cleveland in 1936 was noteworthy because Gov. Alf Landon of Kansas was squaring off against Sen. William Borah of Idaho for the GOP nomination.

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge was already assured of the nomination. What made the convention special that year was the inclusion of women in the election process.

The slides begin with ads from 1936 and follow with ads from 1924.

The Plain Dealer, June 1936

Unconventional ads during the Republican National Conventions of Cleveland's past

This Plain Dealer ad for the Hotel Hollenden displays only the most congenial aspect of the 1936 RNC. An anthropomorphic building extends a hand in greeting to the Republican party's representation in the form of an elephant.

The Plain Dealer, June 1936

Crackerjack journalists

In 1936, The Plain Dealer supplied "unprecedented coverage" by a "staff of news hawks, writers and picture-getters." This front page ad told readers to expect stories from Washington bureau staffers, the state political reporter, local photographers and journalists, as well as a convention cartoonist.

The Plain Dealer, June 1936

America's convention city

Advertisers, including this billboard operator, bought space in the pages of The Plain Dealer during the 1936 RNC. Bits of Cleveland history are revealed in the ads that follow.

The Plain Dealer, June 1936

Cleveland-made trucks and buses ɺre shipped to the four corners of the world'

The Streamline Moderne influence is seen in the styling of vehicles illustrated in an ad run by The White Motor Co. The company extended an invitation for visitors to Cleveland to tour its facilities, and boasted of being "the largest exclusive manufacturer of trucks and buses."

The Plain Dealer, June 1936

Blue Flash gasoline might not be a familiar name, but Lubrizol, headquartered in Wickliffe, Ohio, was responsible for the fuel additive that made it "solvenized." The gasoline ad displays a pep-steppin' elephant for the 1936 RNC.


How social media spread a historical lie

Earlier this month, a hashtag made its way across Twitter: “#triggeraliberalin4words.”

Kambree Kawahine Koa, whose bio identifies her as a “political news contributor,” scored big with her offering, which garnered almost 10,000 likes and close to 1,000 replies. “The Democrats created KKK,” she tweeted over a photo of a Klan march captioned: “This photo was taken at the 1924 Democratic Convention. It was known as the ‘Klanbake’ (just in case you want to Google it).”

The only problem? There was no Klan march at the 1924 Democratic convention — the photo was actually taken in Wisconsin — nor was the convention ever actually known as the “Klanbake.”

The convention was indeed infamous for taking 103 ballots and more than two weeks to nominate a presidential candidate, John W. Davis. Delegates wrangled over a host of contentious issues, the Klan among them.

But it has more recently become ground zero in an online campaign to misrepresent the Democratic Party’s history as uniquely tainted by racism. The noxious nickname — “The Klanbake” — has become, however misguidedly, an online shorthand used to sum up everything the right hates about the Democrats, most especially hypocrisy. (“#klanbake. That is all,” read one recent tweet in response to the suggestion that contemporary gun owners are overwhelmingly white.)

The truth about the complicated racial legacies of both parties — and the Klan’s influence on them in 1924 — has been perniciously contorted by activists deploying digital tricks, abetted (often unwittingly) by good-faith actors such as academics, journalists and volunteer Wikipedia editors. What’s left is a fake historical “fact” that has been “verified” by powerful digital properties such as Google, Facebook, Wikipedia and various online publishers without being true. Which reflects one actual truth: Now, not only can partisans and malicious actors manufacture fake news, but they can falsify history as well.

A Quick Refresher on 1924

The original Ku Klux Klan was founded after the Civil War to terrorize the formerly enslaved and push back against efforts to create a multiracial America. What historians call the Second Ku Klux Klan launched in 1915 and reached the apex of its power in the mid-1920s, when it exerted deep cultural and political influence around the country. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights nonprofit that tracks hate groups, estimates that the Klan had up to 4 million active members in the United States at its apex, about 5 percent of the adult population.

Klansmen were influential inside both major parties, pushing racism, nativism, Prohibition and especially anti-Catholicism. In the South, Jim Crow-supporting Democrats made a natural fit for the KKK. But in Midwestern industrial towns full of immigrant Catholics and Jews who voted Democratic, the Klan took root largely among Republicans. The Klan was Democratic in Oregon and Republican in Indiana — two of its biggest strongholds. By the end of the decade, the organization, whose membership remained semi-secret, claimed 11 governors, 16 senators and as many as 75 congressmen —roughly split between Republicans and Democrats.


A Brief History Of Democratic and Republican Convention Insanity (Photos)

It's not clear just what is going to happen at the Republican National Convention, but considering the chaos this election cycle has already unleashed, there's a good chance that Donald Trump's party will add to the history of chaotic moments that have come to define this strange aspect of our electoral process. Some conventions featured some famous gaffes, while others became a flashpoint for anger and violence.

1924 Democratic Convention -- Imagine if, in our 24-hour news world, a convention lasted for over two weeks. That's what happened in 1924, when Prohibition opponent Al Smith faced off against William McAdoo, who was supported by the Ku Klux Klan.

McAdoo tried to distance himself from the Klan, but to no avail, as chants of "Ku Ku McAdoo!" and "Booze! Booze! Booze!" flew back and forth as dozens of rounds of balloting passed. After 103 ballots, the Dems settled on milquetoast compromise candidate John W. Davis, who got crushed in November.

1964 Republican Convention -- In the midst of the Civil Rights Era, arch-conservatives pushed Barry Goldwater to the Republican nomination, resulting in a convention that splintered the Republican party.

A fistfight nearly broke out during a platform debate on immigration, and Goldwater supporters jeered moderate rival, Nelson Rockefeller, during his speech. But the Goldwater camp turned out to be a very loud yet very small minority, as Lyndon B. Johnson took 44 states in the general election.

1968 Democratic Convention -- With MLK and RFK dead, student protests across the nation and the Vietnam War becoming increasingly unpopular, the Democrats' decision to not push against Lyndon Johnson's policies in Southeast Asia was the last straw for some. Protesters marched on the convention in Chicago and, as TV news cameras rolled, were brutally beaten by police.

1972 Republican Convention -- Vietnam War protests continued in the next election, when Richard Nixon brought his re-election campaign to Miami Beach. Once again, the scene outside erupted into violence, with gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson getting caught in the crossfire, though he noted that one nonviolent group struck him the most:

"There was an ominous sense of dignity about everything the Vietnam Veterans Against The War did in Miami," wrote Thompson. "They rarely ever hinted at violence, but their very presence was menacing on a level that the street crazies never even approached, despite all their yelling and trashing."

1980 Democratic Convention -- Inexplicably, one Democratic delegate cast a vote for George Orwell to be Jimmy Carter's running mate. The "Animal Farm" author had been dead for 30 years.

But that was nothing compared to the extremely awkward ending to President Jimmy Carter's convention speech, which failed to rally Democrats who supported Ted Kennedy. Carter was hoping Kennedy would join him onstage in an enthusiastic display of solidarity, only to get a half-hearted handshake as a smattering of balloons trickled from the rafters. The message was clear: Carter didn't have a chance against Ronald Reagan.

2000 Democratic Convention -- While Al Gore was accepting the nomination at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, nu-metal band Rage Against The Machine was holding a protest concert across the street. The concert attracted protesters disillusioned with the two-party system and the candidates nominated by both parties. The concert ended when tensions escalated between the band's fans and police, as the sound was cut and rubber bullets were deployed.

2004 Democratic Convention -- Similar to the balloon snafu that plagued Jimmy Carter's speech, balloons failed to descend after John Kerry's speech. This time, though, the incident was caught on CNN, along with the sound of show producer Don Mischer's panicking voice getting picked up by the microphones: "What's happening to the balloons? There's nothing falling. What the f--- are you guys doing up there?!"

2012 Republican Convention -- Donald Trump is planning to invite several celebrity speakers to this year's convention, though it's hard to believe that any of them will give a speech as weird as the one Clint Eastwood gave four years ago. Eastwood improvised a speech in which he spoke to an empty chair that represented Barack Obama. The speech earned praise from the right and derision from the left, though Bill Maher did commend Eastwood for bringing spontaneity to the heavily scripted affair that political conventions have now become.


FACT CHECK: Viral Image Claims To Show The KKK Marching At The 1924 Democratic National Convention

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows a parade of Ku Klux Klan (KKK) members at the 1924 Democratic National Convention.

Verdict: False

The image captures a KKK march toward the funeral of a slain police officer on Dec. 2, 1924.

&ldquoThis photo was taken at the 1924 Democratic National Convention,&rdquo the caption reads. &ldquoIt was known as the &lsquoKlanbake&rsquo (just in case you want to Google it).&rdquo

The 1924 Democratic National Convention, which took 16 days and 103 ballots to select the presidential nominee, was held in New York City from June 24 to July 9 that year. It has been popularly described as a &ldquoKlanbake&rdquo for a couple of decades, according to research by journalist Jennifer Mendelsohn and academic Peter Shulman, who traced the origin of the term back to a contemporaneous report on the convention from the New York Daily News. According to JSTOR Daily, hundreds of KKK members attended as delegates.

The image has been misidentified as Klansmen marching at the convention, but it was actually taken about five months later in Madison, Wisconsin, by Wisconsin State Journal photographer Arthur M. Vinje. It shows a parade of Klansmen en route to the funeral of a slain police officer in December of that year.

&ldquoKu Klux Klan (KKK) wearing conic masks and white robes parading down King Street to Schroeder Funeral Home for the funeral of Police officer Herbert Dreger,&rdquo reads the caption on the Wisconsin Historical Society&rsquos website. &ldquoDreger was shot to death in &lsquoDeath&rsquos Corner&rsquo (South Murray Street) on December 2, 1924.&rdquo

In the past few years, conservatives have deployed the image in an attempt to discredit Democrats. Conservative political commentator Dinesh D&rsquoSouza, for example, tweeted the image in 2017. Shulman subsequently corrected him, pointing to the historical society website.

Have a fact check suggestion? Send ideas to [email protected] .


2016 election

In November 2015, Republican consultant Karl Rove predicted a brokered convention was possible in 2016, as a result of the large Republican field, the number of states that award delegates proportionally and the "fluid force" of uncommitted superdelegates. He argued in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal that Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump “have the message, money, organization and poll numbers to play the long game," which would increase the possibility of a brokered convention. ⎜]

On December 10, 2015, The Washington Post reported that the Republican National Committee had begun to make preparations for a potential brokered convention. In a meeting of 20 party officials on December 7, 2015, “the groundwork for a floor fight” against Trump was reportedly discussed. In response, Trump said he would be "disadvantaged" if one occurred. "I'd be going up against guys who grew up with each other, who know each other intimately and I don’t know who they are, okay? That’s a big disadvantage," Trump explained. ⎝]

In a statement on December 11, 2015, Carson threatened to leave the Republican Party if the party’s leadership met again to discuss using a brokered convention to guide the outcome of the primary election. “If this was the beginning of the plan to subvert the will of the voters and replace them with the will of the political elite, I assure you Donald Trump will not be the only one leaving the party,” Carson wrote. In an interview on Fox News later in the day, Carson clarified that he would not run as a third-party candidate. ⎞] ⎟]

Mitt Romney supporters have also reportedly "mapped out a strategy for a late entry to pick up delegates and vie for the nomination in a convention fight, according to the Republicans who were briefed on the talks." ⎠]

On March 3, 2016, Romney publicly condemned Trump's candidacy and encouraged voters to support Marco Rubio and John Kasich in their respective home states of Florida and Ohio. Reuters reported, "By calling for targeted voting, Romney was setting up the possibility of a contested convention when Republicans gather in Cleveland in mid-July to select their nominee for the November election to succeed Democratic President Barack Obama. That could create a pathway to deny Trump the 1,237 delegates needed for nomination." ⎡]

The following day, Ted Cruz argued against a brokered convention. He said, "A brokered convention is the pipe-dream of the Washington establishment. It is their hope they can snatch this nomination from the people. . If the Washington deal-makers try to steal the nomination from the people, I think it will be a disaster. It will cause a revolt.” ⎢]

John Kasich appeared to support the possibility of a brokered convention while speaking to reporters on March 7, 2016. He said that he would not need a plurality of delegates to be competitive for the Republican presidential nomination. "The delegates will be smart, and they’ll figure it out. I was at a convention where Ronald Reagan challenged Gerald Ford. Ford won and the party was unified. But, you know, to say – I have more than you, therefore I should get it? Go out and earn it! Don’t be whining about how it’s gonna work. Go get what you need to be the legitimate winner!" Kasich said. ⎣]


Elections from 1924 to 1964

This section contains information and memorabilia on the elections from 1924 to 1964. Scroll down the page to learn more about specific election years.

Election of 1924

Vice President Calvin Coolidge became president after the sudden death of Warren Harding in 1923. Shortly after, reports of government scandals were revealed. Investigations had discovered that members of the Harding administration had received bribes to lease oil reserves on government property in Teapot Dome, Wyoming, to private oil men. Coolidge was not implicated his reputation for integrity and honesty remained intact. He easily won the Republican nomination at the 1924 convention. The Democratic Party was split into two powerful factions. The southern and western wing supported Woodrow Wilson’s son-in-law and treasury secretary, William Mc Adoo of California. This faction was influenced by the newly re-emerging Ku Klux Klan and was anti-immigration and for prohibition. Meanwhile, the northern and eastern faction of the party was influenced by the big city political machines and was strongly pro-immigration and against prohibition. Their candidate, Catholic New York governor Al Smith, was unacceptable to the southern Democrats. The result was a contentious national convention. It required 103 ballots and lasted 17 days before a compromise candidate, Congressman and former Wall Street lawyer John W. Davis, was nominated. The Progressive Party reemerged as a coalition of farmers, laborers, and socialists to nominate Republican Senator Robert LaFollette of Wisconsin on a corporate reform platform.

Coolidge did little actual campaigning, while Davis toured the country criticizing Coolidge’s silence and the scandals of the previous administration. “Silent Cal” was a man of few words. “I am for economy” and “the business of America is business” were his basic non-controversial themes. In the end, Coolidge’s popularity, combined with the split in the Democratic Party and the general prosperity in the country, made him hard to defeat. The election resulted in another Republican landslide. Coolidge received 382 electoral votes to 136 for Davis and 13 for LaFollette. The popular vote was 54 percent Republican, 30 percent Democrat, and 16.6 percent Progressive. Virginia cast its 12 electoral votes for John Davis.

Election of 1928

Despite his continued popularity and the countries general prosperity, President Calvin Coolidge refused to run for another term. The Republican Party instead turned to Herbert Hoover, a former engineer, self-made millionaire, and secretary of commerce. Hoover was popular with his party for his humanitarian relief efforts during and after World War I. There was essentially no opposition Hoover was nominated on the first ballot with a platform to continue the Coolidge policies and uphold the 18th Amendment (Prohibition). Because William McAdoo refused to run, New York governor Al Smith had no serious competition for the Democratic nomination. The southern faction of the Democratic Party still viewed Smith as a liability because of his Catholicism and his anti-prohibition views. To appease the southern wing of the party, which supported prohibition, Arkansas senator Joseph Robinson was picked to be Smith’s running mate.

The Hoover campaign emphasized the country’s prosperity. The Republicans promised a “chicken in every pot and two cars in every garage.” Both sides also used the radio for campaigning, although Smith was hurt nationally by his regional New York accent and his occasionally poor grammar. Considering that there were so many factors against him, Smith did remarkably well, especially in large cities and urban areas. The final electoral vote was 444 for Hoover (with 58.2 percent of the popular vote) against 44 electoral votes for Smith (with 40.8 percent popular vote). Virginia cast its 12 electoral votes for Herbert Hoover.

Election of 1932

The stock market crash and subsequent depression began only eight months after President Herbert Hoover’s inauguration in 1929. His attempts to improve the economy proved unsuccessful. By the time of the 1932 presidential election, there was widespread unemployment because of business and farm failures. In some cities, the unemployed only had the shelter of run down shacks these areas were nicknamed “Hoovervilles.” Hoover’s once positive image as a humanitarian and successful administrator had vanished. Nonetheless, in the absence of any other viable candidate and hopeful of reversing the economic failures, the Republican Party nominated Hoover on the first ballot of its convention. The Democrats sensed the opportunity to recapture the White House. Although Al Smith and several others sought the nomination, former vice presidential candidate and New York governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt was nominated on the fourth ballot of the Democratic convention. Roosevelt became the first candidate to give an acceptance speech at a national convention he called for a “New Deal” on behalf of the American people.

Both parties made extensive use of the radio during the campaign. Still, in part to demonstrate his strength and vitality despite having crippling polio, Roosevelt did an extensive speaking tour of the country. Concern over the economy and Hoover’s apparent inability to solve the crisis led to a landslide victory for Roosevelt (472 electoral votes to 59). Americans were hopeful that a new administration could find a solution to the depression. Virginia cast its 11 electoral votes for Franklin Roosevelt.

Election of 1936

By 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” plan to combat the economic crisis had resulted in substantial improvement the country was hopeful for a full recovery. However, the Great Depression had not ended. Unemployment remained high and the national debt was increasing. With a Democratic Party platform to expand the New Deal, Roosevelt was easily nominated for a second term. The Republicans chose Alf Landon, a conservative governor of Kansas who had balanced his state’s budget but who had also been a “Bull Moose” progressive. The Republican Party platform, although agreeing with some New Deal programs, attacked the unbalanced budget and “wasteful” spending. Anti–New Deal followers of recently deceased Louisiana governor Huey Long and popular Catholic priest Father Charles Coughlin backed a candidate, William Lemke, of the Union Party. Labor had received favorable legislation with New Deal programs and as a result, began to play a role in Democratic politics. For the first time, organized labor endorsed a candidate when the new Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), led by United Mine Workers president John L. Lewis, formed a political action group called Labors Non-Partisan League.

Campaign strategies in 1936 included the extensive use of radio. President Roosevelt continued his “fireside” chats. Republicans complained that this gave the president an unfair advantage and requested their own free airtime. Campaigns also began to make use of advertising professionals and public opinion polls. With big business supporting the Republicans, and labor supporting the Democrats, both parties had considerable funds. The result of the election was an overwhelming victory for Roosevelt and the Democratic Party. Roosevelt won more than 60 percent of the popular vote and an electoral vote margin of 523 to 8. Landon only won the states of Maine and Vermont. Democrats also controlled the Senate and House of Representatives by wide margins. The Democratic constituency now included labor unions, industrial workers, farmers, unemployed, liberals, southern whites, the elderly (especially with the passage of the Social Security Act), and for the first time, black Americans. Virginia cast its 11
electoral votes for Franklin Roosevelt.

Election of 1940

Although unemployment remained high and economic recovery had not been achieved, the major issue of the 1940 election was the war in Europe. The Republican Party nominated Wendell Willkie, a former Wall Street lawyer and utilities company president. As an articulate, charismatic, nonpolitical former businessperson, he had become a favorite of a professional community that was tired of the New Deal. Although Franklin D. Roosevelt did not outwardly seek a nomination for a third term, his close associates were aware that he would accept the candidacy if drafted by the convention. Roosevelt easily won the nomination on the first ballot and reluctantly chose Henry Wallace as his running mate.

Willkie went on an extensive speaking tour of the country and attacked Roosevelt’s third-term bid and failures of his New Deal policies while promoting America’s neutrality concerning the war in Europe. Though Roosevelt did not personally campaign until just before the election, his supporters attacked Willkie. Before the election, Willkie warned that a Roosevelt victory would result in America’s involvement in the war. In a final speech, Roosevelt claimed “Your boys are not going to be sent to any foreign wars.” Although his margin of victory was less than it had been in 1936, Franklin Roosevelt was elected for an unprecedented third time. He received 54 percent of the popular vote. Roosevelt’s electoral victory was 449 to Willkie’s 82. Virginia cast its 11 electoral votes for Franklin Roosevelt.

Election of 1944

With America at war, President Franklin D. Roosevelt actively sought the nomination for an unprecedented fourth term. There were no other viable Democratic candidates to replace the commander in chief, and therefore he was selected on the first ballot. Concerned about Roosevelt’s failing health, most Democratic Party leaders argued to replace ultra-liberal Henry Wallace as the vice presidential candidate. Missouri senator Harry S. Truman was chosen as Wallace’s replacement. The Republicans nominated New York governor and former racket-busting district attorney Thomas Dewey for president. He immediately declared that any negative campaigning about the conduct of the war would be unpatriotic. Dewey’s campaign instead focused on attacking Roosevelt’s age and health, as well as promoting fuller employment by working with private enterprise. Dewey campaigned actively with speaking tours and extensive use of radio speeches. In contrast, Roosevelt refused to campaign until shortly before the election when, concerned that his lack of campaign appearances would give credence to the belief that his health was failing, he gave a series of speeches that energized the Democratic campaign. Once again, the CIO and organized labor supported Roosevelt.

The outcome of the election was similar to the 1940 result. Roosevelt received 53.4 percent of the popular vote and 432 electoral votes to 99 for Dewey. Most likely, the war was the deciding factor in the campaign. Most Americans did not wish to change leadership while the events of the war in 1944 appeared to indicate a successful conclusion. Following his inauguration in January, Roosevelt suffered a fatal cerebral hemorrhage in April 1945 and was succeeded by Truman. The war ended five months later. Virginia cast its 11 electoral votes for Franklin Roosevelt.

Election of 1948

President Harry S. Truman’s initial postwar popularity soon eroded because of developing economic problems that included inflation, rising prices, higher taxes, and labor strikes. Following victories in the 1946 Congressional elections, the Republican Party was optimistic that it would recapture the White House in 1948. Among the contenders for the Republican presidential nomination were Robert Taft, Harold Stassen, and Gen. Douglas McArthur. In the first televised political national convention, however, the GOP again nominated Thomas Dewey. The Democrats, sensing defeat, tried to draft the popular Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. When Eisenhower refused to run, the party again turned to Truman. Following the adoption of a strong civil rights platform by the Democratic convention, delegates from Alabama and Mississippi walked out, and several days later formed the States Rights or “Dixiecrat” Party. Its presidential nominee was South Carolina governor Strom Thurmond. In addition, left-wing Democrats and other liberal groups, dissatisfied with Truman’s post war policies with Russia, formed a new Progressive Party. It nominated the man Roosevelt had replaced with Truman in 1944, former Vice President Henry Wallace.

During the campaign, Truman, promising to “give ’em hell,” went on an extensive “whistle stop” train tour of the country. Rather than attacking Dewey, Truman criticized the Republican Congress as the “no account, do nothing, Eightieth Congress.” Despite the increasing size of the crowds at Truman’s speeches as the election neared, polls continued to show Dewey in the lead. Anticipating a victory, the headline in the Chicago Tribune the morning after the election read “Dewey Defeats Truman.” But in a remarkable upset, Truman captured 303 electoral votes to 189 for Dewey and more than 2 million more popular votes. The States Rights Party received 39 electoral votes, while the Progressive Party received none. Virginia cast its 11 electoral votes for Harry Truman.

Election of 1952

The Truman administration suffered a loss in popularity from an unpopular Korean War, the spread of communism in China, and bribery scandals in government. Consequently, when Harry Truman refused to run again, the Democrat Party nominated Adlai Stevenson, the scholarly governor of Illinois and grandson of Grover Cleveland’s vice president, as its candidate. Although both the Democratic and Republican parties had previously been interested in Dwight D. Eisenhower as their candidate, by 1952 he had declared himself a Republican and was easily nominated at their convention. The Republican Party campaign intended to attack Democrats with a strategy called the “K1C2” formula (Korea, communism, corruption). Junior senator Richard M. Nixon, who had been active in anticommunist investigations, was nominated for the vice presidency.

The Eisenhower campaign was carefully planned with advice from advertising experts. A telephone campaign and numerous television commercials were designed to reach voters in their homes. Additionally, Eisenhower traveled by plane, giving speeches in forty-four states. Republicans also actively sought the women’s vote with T.V. commercials based on family values. The Democrat’s slogan was “you never had it so good,” but the campaign lacked the planning and strategy of the Republicans. Stevenson also traveled the country by plane, giving intelligent and witty speeches, but projected poorly on television. The Eisenhower campaign received a serious blow when a newspaper article accused Nixon of receiving and personally using a secret fund of political money. Nixon defended himself to a nationwide television audience claiming the money was used entirely for political purposes. He added that the only gift he received was a dog named Checkers that his children loved and he was going to keep. Following the “Checkers speech, ” the Republican National Committee received a deluge of positive mail supporting Nixon. Eisenhower agreed to keep him on the ticket.

Near the end of the campaign, Eisenhower announced that if elected, he would “go to Korea” to end the war. This pledge, along with his popularity as a military hero, led to a landslide victory. Along with 55 percent of the popular vote, Dwight Eisenhower received 442 electoral votes to 89 for Stevenson. Virginia cast its 12 electoral votes for Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Election of 1956

The popular Dwight D. Eisenhower was easily nominated at the Republican convention in 1956. The country was at peace after the Korean War and enjoying economic prosperity. The only question was Eisenhower’s health following a heart attack he suffered in 1955, but his recuperation had been uneventful, and he was anxious to run for a second term. After some initial hesitancy, the controversial Richard Nixon was again nominated for vice president. The Democrats turned once again to Adlai Stevenson, who had defeated Tennessee governor Estes Kefauver in the party primaries. Despite some early support for young Massachusetts senator John F. Kennedy, Kefauver was chosen as Stevenson’s running mate. Though Eisenhower did less traveling and active campaigning than in 1952, extensive use of television commercials promoted the Republican theme of “peace, progress, and prosperity.” Stevenson traveled extensively by plane, giving speeches at rallies across the country.

Democrats tried to use Eisenhower’s health, age, and the possibility of Richard Nixon replacing him as issues. Just before the election, the Soviet Union invaded Hungary, and British forces invaded Egypt over the rights to the Suez Canal. The voters trusted Eisenhower, with his military and international background, as the better candidate to handle this crisis. The president’s popularity combined with Stevenson’s divorce (at a time when Republicans were promoting family values), led to an overwhelming Eisenhower victory. Along with 57 percent of the popular vote, Eisenhower received 457 electoral votes to 73 for Stevenson. Virginia cast its 12 electoral votes for Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Election of 1960

With the 22nd Amendment preventing President Dwight Eisenhower from seeking a third term, the Republicans designated Richard Nixon and Henry Cabot Lodge as their candidates for the 1960 election. Nixon promised to campaign in all fifty states. Although his bid to be vice president in 1956 was unsuccessful, John F. Kennedy had gained national recognition with that attempt combined with the popularity of his Pulitzer Prize–winning book, Profiles in Courage. There was initial concern over his youth, Catholicism, and mediocre record as Massachusetts senator, but Kennedy was able to reassure the voters by defeating Hubert Humphrey in the Democratic primaries. At the age of forty-three, Kennedy was nominated for president at the Democratic convention. Lyndon Johnson was selected as the vice presidential candidate. Kennedy’s campaign committee, led by his younger brother Robert, was comprised of experts to help with speeches and strategic advice.

Despite all the traveling, speeches, and paraphernalia, it was television that had the greatest effect on the campaigns. For the first time, two presidential candidates met in a series of nationally televised debates. More than 70 million viewers tuned in to the first debate. Kennedy appeared the most photogenic, relaxed, and confident. Nixon, who had been ill, refused make-up he appeared tired, pale, and perspiring. Though many radio listeners thought that Nixon had won the debate, Kennedy’s television performance was a turning point in the campaign, as larger and larger crowds began to appear at his rallies.

With Alaska and Hawaii having been admitted to the Union in 1959, this was the first election for 50 states and the largest voter turnout to date. In a remarkably close election, Kennedy received 49.7 percent of the popular vote (303 electoral votes) to 49.6 percent for Nixon (279 electoral votes). Unpledged Electors from Mississippi and Alabama gave 15 electoral votes to Senator Harry Byrd of Virginia (and Strom Thurmond for vice president). Virginia cast its 12 electoral votes for Richard Nixon.

Election of 1964

On becoming president, following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson embarked on a legislative agenda that involved civil rights and “New Deal” type welfare reforms. The goal was to create a “Great Society” where the government would improve the quality of life for everyone. The 1964 Democratic convention easily nominated Johnson for president and Hubert Humphrey for vice president. The party’s platform pledged to continue federal economic and social programs. The Republican convention selected ultra conservative Arizona senator Barry Goldwater rather than more liberal candidates, such as Governors Nelson Rockefeller and William Scranton. William Miller was nominated for vice president. During the campaign, Democrats attacked Goldwater as a reckless extremist conservative whose views could lead to nuclear war. A particularly effective television commercial featured a young girl counting daisy petals. As she counted down, the T.V. screen suddenly showed a mushroom cloud image of a nuclear explosion with Johnson’s voice proclaiming, “These are the stakes. We must all love each other or we will die.” Goldwater unsuccessfully tried to attack the Johnson administration’s financial scandals and LBJ’s reputation as a “wheeler-dealer.”

Voters, concerned over the nuclear war issue and possible loss of social security and other programs, gave an overwhelming victory to Lyndon Johnson (486 electoral votes to 52 for Goldwater). Johnson, who called the results a “mandate for unity,” received 61 percent of the popular vote. Virginia cast its 12 electoral votes for Lyndon Johnson.


Citizen Klan

Delegates to the Democratic Party's 1924 Convention from Washington State, Oregon, and Idaho unanimously opposed adding a plank to the Party Platform that would condemn Ku Klux Klan violence. Source: the national Klan newspaper, The Imperial Night-Hawk, July 2, 1924, p4.

David Leppert: Mayor of Kent and Seattle-area Ku Klux Klan Leader

Watcher on the Tower, Sept 1, 1923, p4.

Wapato School Director

Wapato Independent, Mar 12, 1925, p1.

The Ku Klux Klan was controversial in the 1920s not only because of its intolerance and promotion of vigilante violence, but also because of its entry into American politics. During the first half of the 1920s, the Klan, which had previously been associated with the South, came to thoroughly dominate electoral politics in Indiana, supposedly helped elect eleven Governors (including Oregon’s Walter Pierce), and briefly controlled State Legislatures in the Western States of Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, and Oregon.

At the national level, the Klan is alleged to have elected dozens of Senators and Congressmen in the 1920s. Though at the local level Klan politicians were both Republicans and Democrats, nationally it was the Democratic Party that was most associated with the Klan because of intense infighting at its 1924 Presidential nominating convention. Klan allies fought tooth-and-nail to oppose the nomination of New York Governor Al Smith because he was Catholic, and conflict between delegates went from rhetoric to fistfights. The negative publicity from this infighting supposedly helped Republican Calvin Coolidge win the Presidency that year by a landslide.

In this context, the inroads made into electoral politics by Washington State’s Ku Klux Klan seem relatively mild. Voting patterns on the Klan’s anti-Catholic school bill in 1924 suggest that while the Klan had many members in big cities, its main voting power (which was not very large) resided in small farming towns. Yet on the other hand, at the Democratic Party Convention earlier that year, delegates from Washington state, along with those from Oregon and Idaho, were unanimous in opposing a plank to the Party platform which would have repudiated violence associated with the KKK.

Notable Klan members elected to public office in Washington State include the Mayor of Kent, David Leppert, and Bellingham City Attorney Charles B. Sampley. Politicians who were likely members of the Klan include the Mayor of Blaine, Alan Keyes, and Wapato’s Director of Schools, Frank Sutton. Given that the Klan was a secret society, it is hard to differentiate Klan allies from Klan members, and it is likely that many other local elected officials in Washington state were Klan members.

Congressman Albert Johnson

Certainly the biggest question with regard to the Washington state’s Klan’s influence on local and national electoral politics comes through its relationship to Congressman Albert Johnson, Representative to the United States House from Washington&rsquos Third Congressional District.

Congressman Johnson was a eugenics supporter and a national leader in demanding that the U.S. restrict most of its immigration to “Nordic” peoples. As Chair of the House’s Immigration Committee, he introduced and led a successful drive to pass what in 1924 became the most strict immigration law in American history. His intolerant views and political career grew independently of the Ku Klux Klan. He claimed to have been part of a mob that forced hundreds of South Asians out of Bellingham, Washington and into Canada in 1907, was elected in 1914 on an anti-immigrant platform, and played a leading role among Western Congressmen in calling for comprehensive anti-Japanese and anti-South Asian immigration restriction as soon as he arrived in the Capitol. Johnson was a member of the Freemasons, a group the Klan often sought to recruit from.

The Klan was public and effusive in its support of Albert Johnson. Time Magazine noted in 1924 that Johnson’s immigration restriction law was “generally supported by the West and South, admittedly with the backing of the Ku Klux Klan.” It reported in 1926 that one of the national KKK’s top four political priorities was the “Renomination and re-election of Representative Albert Johnson of Washington, so he can continue to be Chairman of the House Committee on Immigration and fight for restricted immigration laws.” The Klan wasn’t the only organization pushing immigration restriction, even though its spectacular growth in the early 1920s nationwide helped make its passage politically possible. We may never know whether Johnson was an ally of the Klan, a mentor, or even a member. But he certainly had the Klan’s admiration its support.

&ldquoThe Washington State Klan in the 1920s&rdquo by Trevor Griffey includes the following chapters:


Coolidge Easily Wins Election of 1924

THE MAKING OF A NATION – a program in Special English by the Voice of America.

Vice President Calvin Coolidge moved to the White House in 1923 following the death of President Warren Harding. The new president quickly gained the trust of most Americans by investigating the crimes of Harding's top officials. And his conservative economic policies won wide support.

Coolidge had one year to prove his abilities to the American people before the 1924 election. That election is our story today.

Coolidge was a quiet man who believed in limited government policies. But his silence hid a fighting political spirit. Coolidge had worked for many years to gain the White House. He would not give it up without a struggle.

Coolidge moved quickly after becoming president to gain control of the Republican Party. He named his own advisers to important jobs. And he replaced a number of officials with people whose loyalty he could trust.

Most Republicans liked Coolidge. They felt his popular policies would make him a strong candidate in the presidential election. For this reason, Coolidge faced only one serious opponent for the Republican presidential nomination in 1924.

Coolidge's opponent was the great automobile manufacturer Henry Ford of Michigan.

Ford had been a Democratic candidate for the Senate in 1918. He lost that election. But after the election, some people in his company began to call for Ford to be the Republican presidential nominee in 1924.

Ford was one of history's greatest inventors and manufacturers. But he had limited skills in politics. Ford was poorly educated. He had extreme opinions about a number of groups. He hated labor unions, the stock market, dancing, smoking, and drinking alcohol. But most of all, Ford hated Jews. He produced a number of publications accusing the Jewish people of organizing international plots.

At first, Ford appeared to be a strong opponent to Coolidge. But soon, he realized that Coolidge was too strong politically. His economic policies were popular among the people. And the nation was at peace. The party could not deny Coolidge's nomination. Ford himself put an end to his chances by telling the nation that it was "perfectly safe with Coolidge."

Calvin Coolidge won the presidential nomination easily at the 1924 Republican convention in Cleveland, Ohio. The Republican delegates chose Charles Dawes of Illinois to run with him as the vice presidential candidate.

The Democratic Party was much more divided. Many of the groups that traditionally supported Democratic candidates now were fighting against each other. For example, many farmers did not agree on policies with people living in cities. The educated did not agree with uneducated people. And many Protestant workers felt divided from Roman Catholic and Jewish workers.

These differences made it hard for the Democratic Party to choose a national candidate. There was little spirit of compromise.

Two main candidates campaigned for the Democratic nomination. The first was former Treasury Secretary William McAdoo. McAdoo had the support of many Democrats because of his strong administration of the railroads during the world war. Democratic voters in southern and western states liked him because of his conservative racial policies and his opposition to alcohol.

The second main candidate was Alfred Smith, the governor of New York. Smith was a Roman Catholic. He was very popular with people in the eastern cities, Roman Catholics and supporters of legal alcohol. But many rural delegates to the convention did not trust him.

The Democratic Party convention met in New York City. It quickly became a battle between the more liberal delegates from the cities and the more conservative delegates from rural areas.

It was July. The heat was intense. Speaker after speaker appealed to the delegates for votes. One day passed. Then another. For nine days, the nation listened on the radio as the delegates argued about the nomination.

The delegates voted ninety-five times without success. Finally, McAdoo and Smith agreed to withdraw from the race. Even then, the delegates had to vote eight more times before they finally agreed on compromise candidates.

The Democratic delegates finally chose John Davis to be their presidential nominee. Davis was a lawyer for a major bank. He had served briefly under President Wilson as ambassador to Britain. The delegates also chose Charles Bryan to be the vice presidential candidate. Bryan was the younger brother of the famous Democrat and populist leader, William Jennings Bryan.

There also was a third party in the 1924 election. Many of the old Progressive supporters of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson opposed the choices of the Republicans and Democrats. They thought the country needed another candidate to keep alive the spirit of reform.

Progressive candidates had done well in the congressional election of 1922. But following the election, communists had gained influence in one of the major progressive parties. Most progressives did not want to join with communists. So, they formed a new Progressive Party. The new party named Senator Robert LaFollette of Wisconsin to be its presidential candidate.

LaFollette campaigned for increased taxes on the rich and public ownership of water power. He called for an end to child labor and limits on the power of the courts to interfere in labor disputes. And LaFollette warned the nation about the dangers of single, large companies gaining control of important industries.

Coolidge won the 1924 election easily. He won the electoral votes of thirty-five states to just twelve for Davis of the Democrats. LaFollette won only Wisconsin, his home state. Coolidge also won more popular votes than the other two candidates together.

The American people voted for Coolidge partly to thank him for bringing back honesty and trust to the White House following the crimes of the Harding administration. But the main reason was that they liked his conservative economic policies and his support of business.

LaFollette's Progressive Party died following the 1924 election. Most of his supporters later joined the Democrats. But the reform spirit of their movement remained alive through the next four years.

They were difficult years for Progressives. Conservatives in Congress passed laws reducing taxes for corporations and richer Americans.

Progressives fought for reforms in national agriculture policies. Most farmers did not share in the general economic growth of the 1920s. Instead, their costs increased while the price of their products fell. Many farmers lost their farms.

Farmers and progressives wanted the federal government to create a system to control prices and the total supply of food produced. They said the government should buy and keep any extra food that farmers produced. And they called for officials to help them export food.

Coolidge and most Republicans rejected these ideas. They said it was not the business of a free government to fix farm prices. And they feared the high costs of creating a major new government department and developing export markets.

Coolidge vetoed three major farm reform bills following his election.

The debate over farm policy was, in many ways, like the debate over taxes or public controls on power companies. There was a basic difference of opinion about the proper actions of government.

More conservative Americans believed the purpose of government was to support private business, not to control it. But more liberal Americans believed that government needed to do more to make sure that citizens of all kinds could share the nation's wealth more equally.

Coolidge and the Republicans were in control in the 1920s. For this reason, the nation generally stayed on a conservative path. The Democrats and Progressives would have to wait until later to put many of their more liberal ideas into action.

You have been listening to THE MAKING OF A NATION, a program in Special English. Your reporters were Harry Monroe and Kay Gallant. Our program was written by David Jarmul.


1924 Republican Convention - History

The 1924 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States was held in Cleveland, Ohio, at the Public Auditorium from June 10 to 12. President Calvin Coolidge was nominated for a full term and went on to win the general election. The convention nominated Illinois Governor Frank Lowden for vice president on the second ballot, but he declined the nomination. The convention then selected Charles G. Dawes. Also considered for the nomination was Senator Charles Curtis of Kansas, a future vice president.

''Time'' featured the imperial wizard in a cover photograph in conjunction with an article about the organization's role in the Republican convention dubbing it "the Kleveland Konvention." Some delegates supported adding a condemnation of the Ku Klux Klan by name into the party platform, but they lacked enough support to bring their proposed language to a vote. The head of the KKK, Imperial Wizard Hiram Wesley Evans, was in the city for the convention but maintained a low public profile.

Coolidge faced a challenge from California Senator Hiram Johnson and Wisconsin Senator Robert M. La Follette in the 1924 Republican primaries. Coolidge fended off his progressive challengers with convincing wins in the Republican primaries, and was assured of the 1924 presidential nomination by the time the convention began. After his defeat in the primaries, La Follette ran a third party candidacy that attracted significant support. Image:Calvin Coolidge photo portrait head and shoulders.jpg| President
Calvin Coolidge Image:Hiram Johnson.jpg| Senator
Hiram Johnson
of California Image:Robert_M._La_Follette,_Sr.jpg| Senator
Robert M. La Follette
of Wisconsin

Vice Presidential nomination

As Calvin Coolidge had ascended to the presidency following the death of Warren G. Harding on 2 August 1923, he served the remainder of Harding's term without a vice president as the 25th Amendment had not yet been passed. This also left the Convention with the task of choosing a running mate for Coolidge. With Coolidge having locked up the presidential nomination, most attention was focused on the vice presidential nomination. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover of California and appellate judge William Kenyon of Iowa were seen as the front-runners for the nomination, as both were popular Western progressives who could provide balance to a ticket led by a conservative from Massachusetts. Coolidge's first choice was reported to be Idaho Senator William E. Borah, also a progressive Westerner, but Borah declined to be considered. Illinois Governor Frank O. Lowden, University of Michigan president Marion Leroy Burton, Ambassador Charles B. Warren of Michigan, Washington Senator Wesley Livsey Jones, college president John Lee Coulter of North Dakota, General James Harbord, and General Charles Dawes also had support as potential running mates. Despite saying that he would not accept the nomination, Lowden was nominated for Vice President on the second ballot over Dawes, Kenyon, and Ohio Representative Theodore E. Burton. However, Lowden declined the nomination, an action, that , has never been repeated, and is now considered unthinkable. The Republicans then held a new vice presidential ballot, with Coolidge favoring Hoover. However, the Republicans picked Dawes, partly as a reaction to the perceived dominance of Coolidge in running the convention.

Each of the three days of the convention opened with a lengthy invocation by a different clergymen—one Methodist, one Jewish, one Catholic. Each was listed among the convention officers as an official chaplain. On June 10, the opening prayer was given by William F. Anderson, Methodist Episcopal bishop of Boston. Among other things, he called for "stricter observance of the law and the preservation of the Constitution of the United States", in other words, for more zealous enforcement of Prohibition. The next day's session was opened by Rev. Dr. Samuel Schulman, rabbi of Temple Beth-El in New York. Schulman spoke with appreciation for "the Republican Party's precious heritage of the championship of human rights" he called for "every form of prejudice and misunderstanding" to be "driven forever out of our land". Speaking of Calvin Coolidge, he praised "the integrity, the wisdom, the fearlessness of our beloved President". On June 12, the final day's invocation was given by Roman Catholic Bishop Joseph Schrembs of Cleveland. Schrembs characterized President Calvin Coolidge as "a chieftain whose record of faithful public service, and whose personality, untarnished and untainted by the pollution of political corruption, will fill the heart of America with the new hope of a second spring". Official Report of the Proceedings of the Eighteenth Republican National Convention, published by the Republican National Committee (1924), pp. 125–26


Watch the video: radio at the 1924 Republican National Convention