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Mark Hanna

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Subject: United States Senate election in Ohio, 1898, John Sherman, United States presidential election, 1904, Warren G. Harding, History of the United States Republican Party
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Mark Hanna

Mark Hanna
A black-and-white head-and-shoulders photograph of a respectfully turned-out middle-aged gentleman in a tartan-pattern bow-tie, white shirt and dark jacket
United States Senator
from Ohio
In office
March 5, 1897 – February 15, 1904
Preceded by John Sherman
Succeeded by Charles W. F. Dick
14th Chair of the Republican National Committee
In office
June 18, 1896 – February 15, 1904
Preceded by Thomas H. Carter
Succeeded by Henry Clay Payne
Personal details
Born Marcus Alonzo Hanna
(1837-09-24)September 24, 1837
New Lisbon, Ohio, United States
Died February 15, 1904(1904-02-15) (aged 66)
Washington, D.C., United States
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Charlotte Augusta Rhodes (1864–1904, survived as widow)
Children Daniel Rhodes Hanna, Mabel Augusta Hanna Parsons, Ruth Hanna McCormick Simms
Alma mater Western Reserve College (expelled)
Occupation Businessman
Religion Protestant Christian, not a member of any denomination.[1]
Military service
Service/branch Union Army
Unit Perry Light Infantry
Battles/wars American Civil War

Marcus Alonzo "Mark" Hanna (September 24, 1837 – February 15, 1904) was a Republican United States Senator from Ohio and the friend and political manager of President William McKinley. Hanna had made millions as a businessman, and used his money and business skills to successfully manage McKinley's presidential campaigns in 1896 and 1900.

Hanna was born in New Lisbon (today Lisbon), Ohio, in 1837. His family moved to the growing city of Cleveland in his teenage years, where he attended high school with John D. Rockefeller. He was expelled from college, and entered the family mercantile business. He served briefly during the American Civil War and married Charlotte Rhodes; her father, Daniel Rhodes, took Hanna into his business after the war. Hanna was soon a partner in the firm, which grew to have interests in many areas, especially coal and iron. He was a wealthy man in Cleveland by his 40th birthday, and turned his attention to politics.

Despite Hanna's efforts on his behalf, Ohio Senator John Sherman failed to gain the Republican nomination for president in 1884 and 1888. With Sherman becoming too old to be considered a contender, Hanna worked to elect McKinley. In 1895, Hanna left his business career to devote himself full-time to McKinley's campaign for president. Hanna paid all expenses to get McKinley the nomination the following year, although he was in any event the frontrunner. The Democrats nominated former Nebraska Congressman William Jennings Bryan, who ran on a bimetallism, or "Free Silver", platform. Hanna's fundraising broke records, and once initial public enthusiasm for Bryan and his program subsided, McKinley was comfortably elected.

Declining a Cabinet position, Hanna, secured appointment as senator from Ohio after Sherman was made Secretary of State; he was re-elected by the Ohio General Assembly in 1898 and 1904. After McKinley's assassination in 1901, Senator Hanna worked for the building of a canal in Panama, rather than elsewhere in Central America, as had previously been proposed. He died in 1904, and is remembered for his role in McKinley's election, thanks to savage cartoons by such illustrators as Homer Davenport, who lampooned him as McKinley's political master.


  • Early life and business career 1
  • Aspiring kingmaker (1880–1888) 2
  • McKinley partisan (1888–96) 3
    • Early relationship 3.1
    • Preparing for a run 3.2
  • Campaign of 1896 4
    • Nominating McKinley 4.1
    • Currency question; Democratic nomination 4.2
    • General election campaign 4.3
  • Senator (1897–1904) 5
    • McKinley advisor (1897–1901) 5.1
      • Securing a Senate seat 5.1.1
      • Relationship with the President 5.1.2
      • Spanish–American War 5.1.3
      • Campaign of 1900 5.1.4
      • Assassination of McKinley 5.1.5
    • Roosevelt years and death (1901–04) 5.2
      • Panama Canal involvement 5.2.1
      • Re-election, rumors of a presidential run, and death 5.2.2

Early life and business career

Hanna's birthplace

Marcus Alonzo Hanna was born on September 24, 1837, in New Lisbon (in 1895 renamed Lisbon), Ohio, to Dr. Leonard and Samantha Hanna. Leonard's father, Benjamin Hanna, a Quaker of Scotch-Irish descent, was a wealthy store owner in New Lisbon. Dr. Hanna practiced in Columbiana County, where New Lisbon was located, until he suffered a spinal injury while riding. After the accident, he joined the family business, B., L., and T. Hanna, by now a major grocery and goods brokering firm. Samantha, née Converse, and her parents had journeyed west from Vermont when she was 11; she was of English, possibly Irish, and French Huguenot descent.[2][3]

Mark's uncle Kersey Hanna described Mark as a boy as "short, strong and rugged, with a full round figure".[4] Young Mark attended the local public school, which conducted class in the basement of the Presbyterian church.[5] He competed in the local boys' debating society, and on the question of whether the black man had more cause for complaint than the Indian, carried the day arguing for the blacks.[6]

A young North American boy of the 19th century. In this black-and-white photograph, the boy looks into the camera nervously, a straw boater perched upon his head. He wears a white shirt, dark jacket and a large, dark-coloured bow tie.
Hanna as a boy

Members of the Hanna family invested in a canal project to connect New Lisbon, distant from waterways, to the Ohio River.[7] The canal was a failure, and the family lost large sums of money. Most Hanna family members left New Lisbon in the early 1850s. Dr. Hanna went into partnership with his brother Robert, starting a grocery business in Cleveland, and relocated his family there in 1852.[8] In Cleveland, Mark attended several public schools, including Cleveland Central High School, which he went to at the same time as John D. Rockefeller. After graduation in 1857, Hanna attended Western Reserve College, but was dismissed for distributing mock programs at a solemn ceremonial.[9] Hanna served in various capacities in the family business, learning it from the bottom up.[10] By the start of the Civil War, he was a major participant in the business. Dr. Hanna had fallen ill with complications from his spinal injury (he died on December 15, 1862), and Mark Hanna, even before his father's death, was made a partner.[11]

With an ill father and many business responsibilities, Mark Hanna could not be spared by his family to join the Union Army, hiring a substitute to enlist in his place. Instead, he became a member of the Perry Light Infantry, a regiment of National Guard troops consisting mostly of young Cleveland business men. In 1864, his regiment was briefly mustered into active service and sent to be garrison troops at Fort Stevens, part of Washington, D.C.'s defenses. During the time the Perry Light Infantry was in service, it saw brief combat action as Confederate Gen. Jubal Early feigned an attack on Washington. However, Hanna, who had been commissioned a second lieutenant, was absent during that time, having been sent to escort the body of a deceased soldier back to Ohio. The regiment was mustered out in August 1864.[12]

A middle-aged American gentleman of the immediate post-civil-war era. In this black-and-white portrait shot the subject looks to the viewer's right. His hair is short and sharply combed, and a beard is prominent on his chin. He wears a dark suit and white shirt.
Mark Hanna, around 1877

Even before his service, Hanna had fallen in love with Charlotte Augusta Rhodes, whom he met in 1862, shortly after her return from a finishing school. Her father Daniel Rhodes was an ardent Democrat and was distantly related to Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas, the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for president in 1860. Rhodes disliked the fact that Hanna had supported the successful Republican candidate, former Illinois Congressman Abraham Lincoln. Daniel Rhodes eventually yielded, and Mark and Charlotte Augusta Hanna were married on September 27, 1864.[13]

The 1850s and 1860s were a time of great expansion for Cleveland, which grew from a small lakeside town to a major player in Great Lakes commerce and a rival to the southern Ohio city of Cincinnati.[14] With peace restored in 1865, Hanna struck out on his own ventures. Foreseeing a demand for petroleum products, he built a refinery, and also invested his own money in the Lac La Belle, a swift Great Lakes steamer. The ship sank and the refinery burned, uninsured. The losses reduced Hanna to near-insolvency.[15] According to Hanna biographer Herbert Croly, "he had gained little from the first nine years of his business life except experience."[16] His father-in-law, appreciating Hanna's potential, took him into his own business in 1867 as a partner, and soon retired. The firm, Rhodes and Company (later M.A. Hanna and Company), dealt principally in coal and steel, but under Hanna expanded into many fields.[15][17] The firm had close dealings with the railroads—especially the Pennsylvania Railroad, which carried much of its freight. Hanna later became director of two railroads, including one of the Pennsylvania's leased lines.[17]

In the 1868 presidential election, Hanna supported the Republican, former Union General Ulysses S. Grant. The flood of inflationary greenback currency issued during the war made Rhodes and Company's dealings in the new confederation of Canada difficult; merchants would accept a dollar in paper money as the equivalent of 35 cents in gold. Hanna hoped that Grant, who was elected, would institute policies which would return full value to the currency.[18] The firm built many vessels and also gained interests in a wide variety of firms, which in turn used the Rhodes steamers.[19] Hanna also purchased Cleveland's opera house, allowing it to remain open at times when it could not pay its full rent.[20]

During Grant's first four-year term, Hanna began to involve himself in politics. At first his interest was purely local, supporting Republican candidates for municipal and Cuyahoga County offices.[21] In 1869, he was elected to the Cleveland Board of Education, but as he was traveling a good deal for business at the time, was able to attend less than half the meetings.[22] In 1873, disgusted by local scandals and the influence of party bosses, he and other Republicans briefly abandoned the party to elect a Democrat running for mayor of Cleveland on a reform agenda.[21]

Aspiring kingmaker (1880–1888)

A 19th-century American gentleman is photographed in black and white, sitting in an ornate chair and looking into the camera. His sandy-coloured hair is somewhat longer on the top than might be expected, and he wears a full beard. He is attired in a dark suit and white shirt.
Before McKinley, Hanna tried to make John Sherman president.

In 1880, Hanna added The Cleveland Herald newspaper to his business empire. This was resented by Edwin Cowles, who owned the Republican newspaper in Cleveland, The Cleveland Leader. For the next five years, until Hanna sold the newspaper, he was bitterly attacked by Cowles in his paper. According to Hanna biographer William T. Horner, the episode was the start of the negative image of Hanna in the press which would be further developed by the Hearst newspapers over a decade later.[23] Cowles' paper attacked Hanna personally, dubbing him "Marcus Aurelius". Cowles' choice of nickname was dictated by the coincidence of name, without regard to that emperor's good reputation. The nickname remained with Hanna throughout the remainder of his career.[24]

The incumbent in 1880, President Rutherford Hayes, had no interest in seeking a second term; after 36 ballots, the Republicans nominated Ohio Representative James Garfield. The nominee had gone to the convention as manager of the campaign of his fellow Ohioan, Secretary of the Treasury John Sherman. Garfield had emerged as a candidate after delegates were impressed by his nomination speech of Sherman. Although Hanna did not attend the convention, he was very active in the fall campaign. The industrialist helped found a businessman's fundraising club to raise money for Garfield's personal expenses in the campaign. Garfield, who ran a front porch campaign, often had to entertain politicians and others who came to meet him at his home in Mentor. According to Charles Dick, who succeeded Hanna in the Senate after the latter's death in 1904, "Mr. Hanna had as much to do with the election of Mr. Garfield as any single individual in the country."[25]

Hanna, according to his biographer Croly, was in charge of the arrangements for the campaign visit of former President Grant and New York Senator Roscoe Conkling to the state. Croly credits him with persuading the two men, who were Stalwarts hostile to Garfield's Half-Breed wing of the party, to visit Garfield in Mentor. Having Grant go to Mentor would be an important show of party unity—Grant had sought the presidency again in 1880, but his faction had failed to gain the nomination for him. However, later biographer Horner believes the tale dubious, suggesting that Grant made the decision unaided by Hanna. Garfield favored civil service reform, a position disliked by Hanna, who felt that public jobs should be used to reward campaign workers. Nevertheless, he strongly supported Garfield as a fellow Ohioan, and the Republican candidate defeated his fellow Civil War general Winfield Hancock by a narrow margin in the November election.[26] Hanna did much fundraising work, roaming the state to persuade business owners to contribute to the Garfield campaign.[27]

Hanna sought no position in the Garfield administration, although Horner states that his services to the campaign entitled him to a reward, and speculates that Hanna did not make any request of Garfield because of their political differences. Garfield's short-lived administration ended with his assassination after six months in office. Hanna was in charge of the committee which took charge of the late president's body when it was brought to Cleveland and saw to the funeral arrangements and interment at Lake View Cemetery—where Hanna himself was to be laid to rest over 20 years later.[28]

In 1884, Hanna sought election as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in support of the presidential bid of Senator Sherman (as he was by then)—President Chester A. Arthur, Garfield's successor, was seeking re-nomination, but was opposed by a number of other Republicans[29] Hanna supported Sherman as the candidate favored the gold standard and worked to solve the problems of business, and because he was from Ohio.[30] The industrialist was successfully opposed by Cowles at the local convention, but was elected a delegate at-large from Ohio at the state convention. At the national convention, Hanna joined forces in support of Sherman with another delegate at-large from Ohio, former Cincinnati judge Joseph B. Foraker, whose rise in state and national politics over the next 20 years would parallel Hanna's. The Ohio delegation proved bitterly divided between supporters of Sherman and those supporting Maine Senator James G. Blaine. Foraker gained national acclaim with his speech nominating Sherman, and Hanna worked for the senator's nomination, but Blaine won easily. With a non-Ohioan the nominee, Hanna worked less energetically for the Republicans than he had in 1880. Blaine lost to the Democratic candidate, New York Governor Grover Cleveland.[29]

During the first Cleveland administration, Hanna continued to run his businesses, and prepared for another run by Sherman, who he did not actually meet until 1885. Once he did, however, a warm relationship grew between the two men.[31] President Cleveland selected Hanna as one of the Union Pacific Railroad's directors—part of the corporate board was then appointed by the government. The appointment was most likely at the recommendation of Senator Sherman. The industrialist's work for the railroad was highly praised by its president, Charles Francis Adams; Hanna's knowledge of the coal business led to him being appointed head of one of the board's committees with responsibility in that area.[32] Hanna was a major campaign adviser and fundraiser for Foraker's successful runs for governor in 1885 and 1887.[33]

McKinley partisan (1888–96)

Early relationship

A terse, professional-looking man reclines in a chair in this black-and-white photograph. He has a prominent nose and dimple in his chin. His dark jacket has only the top button fastened, and appears to be under some strain.
William McKinley in the 1870s

It is uncertain when William McKinley and Mark Hanna first met—neither man in later life could remember the first meeting. McKinley, in 1896, referred to a friendship with Hanna that had lasted over twenty years; Hanna, in 1903, stated after some thought that he had met McKinley before 1876. McKinley biographer H. Wayne Morgan suggests that the two men may have met as early as 1871, although initially without making much impression on each other.[34]

The two men certainly met in 1876, when McKinley, a lawyer, represented a number of coal miners who had rioted following attempts by owners to cut wages. Hanna was one of the mine owners affected by the unrest. The militia, called in by Governor [36]

With Cowles' enmity ended by Hanna's sale of the Herald, the latter had little trouble being elected as a district delegate to the 1888 Republican National Convention. Among the delegates at-large were Governor Foraker and Congressman McKinley. Hanna financed many of the arrangements for the Sherman campaign and was widely regarded as its manager. Sherman, as was customary at the time, remained in Washington and did not attend the convention in Chicago. There was widespread speculation in the press that Governor Foraker, nominally a Sherman supporter, would declare a favorite son candidacy or else support Blaine if he entered the race.[33] The convention deadlocked, with Sherman in the lead but unable to secure the nomination.[33] According to Hanna biographer Thomas Beer,

At the Republican convention of 1888 an accident displayed Major McKinley favorably to Marcus Hanna. A distinct faction, made up of men from every part of the country, approached him with a suggestion that he let himself be nominated. McKinley refused, and bluntly. He had come there pledged to support John Sherman and he would support John Sherman ... Mr. Hanna's admiration of Major McKinley was profuse. He appreciated men who stuck to a losing bargain.[37]

McKinley began to pick up small numbers of votes although not a declared candidate. Hanna became convinced that McKinley was the only Ohioan who could gain the nomination, and by telegram hinted that Sherman should withdraw in the congressman's favor as the only Ohio Republican with a chance at the presidency.[33] Sherman, believing this to be his best chance for election, refused, a decision which Hanna accepted, fighting for Sherman to the end. Hanna was greatly impressed by McKinley's loyal conduct in refusing to begin a run himself. Foraker threw his support to Blaine, though he returned to Sherman when the New Englander did not run. In the end, the nomination fell to former Indiana senator

The 1903 convention

At the 1903 Ohio Republican convention, Foraker filed a resolution to endorse Roosevelt for re-election. This would normally have been introduced at the 1904 convention, but Foraker hoped to use the resolution to take control of the Ohio party from Hanna. The resolution placed Hanna in a difficult position: if he supported it, he proclaimed he would not run for president; if he opposed it, he risked Roosevelt's wrath. Hanna wired Roosevelt, who was on a western trip, that he intended to oppose it and would explain all when both men were in Washington. Roosevelt responded that while he had not requested support from anyone, those friendly to his administration would naturally vote for such a statement. Hanna resignedly supported the resolution.[162]

Re-election, rumors of a presidential run, and death

The US entered into negotiations with Colombia for rights to build a canal; a treaty was signed but was rejected by the Colombian Senate. In November 1903, Panama, with the support of the United States, broke away from Colombia, and Bunau-Varilla, the representative of the new government in Washington, signed a treaty granting the US a zone in which to build a canal.[160] The United States Senate was called upon to ratify the treaty in February 1904; the debate began as Hanna lay dying. The treaty was ratified on February 23, 1904, eight days after Hanna's death.[161]

The Nicaragua route had many supporters and a bill sponsored by Iowa Congressman [159] At the end, Hanna warned that if the US built the Nicaragua canal, another power would finish the Panama route. One senator stated that he had been converted to the "Hannama Canal". The bill was amended to support a Panama route, according to some accounts in part because Cromwell remembered that Nicaragua depicted volcanos on its postage stamps, and combed the stock of Washington stamp dealers until he found enough to send to the entire Senate. The House afterwards agreed to the Senate amendment, and the bill authorizing a Panama canal passed.[159]

Hanna was a supporter of building a canal across Central America to allow ships to pass between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans without making the lengthy journey around Cape Horn. The senator believed a route across the Colombian province of Panama to be superior to its Nicaraguan rival. How he came to support this route is uncertain, though attorney and lobbyist William Nelson Cromwell later claimed to have personally converted Hanna to the Panama cause in 1901.[157] This was disputed by the French canal promoter, Philippe Bunau-Varilla, who stated that at the end of his meeting with Hanna at the Arlington Hotel, the senator exclaimed, "Monsieur Bunau-Varilla, you have convinced me."[158]

Panama Canal involvement

McKinley's death left Hanna devastated both personally and politically. Although the two had not been allies, the new president, Roosevelt, reached out to Hanna, hoping to secure his influence in the Senate. Hanna indicated that he was willing to come to terms with Roosevelt on two conditions: that Roosevelt carry out McKinley's political agenda, and that the President cease from his habit of calling Hanna "old man", something which greatly annoyed the senator. Hanna warned Roosevelt, "If you don't, I'll call you Teddy."[156] Roosevelt, who despised his nickname, agreed to both terms, though he imperfectly carried out the second condition.[156]

Roosevelt years and death (1901–04)

As the President lay, wounded, he enquired "Is Mark there?"; the doctors told him that Senator Hanna was present, but that he should not exert himself with an interview. McKinley appeared to be improving, and Hanna, with the doctors' reassurance, left Buffalo for an encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic in Cleveland, at which Hanna was to speak. While there, he received a telegram stating that the President had taken a turn for the worse, and hurried back to Buffalo. There he found an unconscious McKinley, whose sickbed had become a deathbed. On the evening of September 13, Hanna was allowed to see the dying man, as were others close to the President, such as his wife and his brother, Abner McKinley. Hanna, weeping, went to the library in the Milburn House where the President lay, and as he awaited the end, made the necessary plans and arrangements to return his friend's remains to Canton. At 2:15 am on September 14, President McKinley died.[154][155]

McKinley traveled much during his presidency, and in September 1901, journeyed to the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. On September 6, 1901, while receiving the public in the Temple of Music on the Exposition grounds, McKinley was shot by an anarchist, Leon Czolgosz. Hanna, along with many of the President's close allies, hurried to his bedside.[154]

Assassination of McKinley

On November 6, 1900, the voters re-elected McKinley, who took 51.7% of the popular vote, a slight increase from 1896. He won 292 electoral votes to Bryan's 155. McKinley took six states that Bryan had taken in 1896 while holding all the states he had won. Although the majority was not large by later standards, according to historian Lewis L. Gould in his study of the McKinley presidency, "in light of the election results since the Civil War, however, it was an impressive mandate."[148]

Hanna spent much of his time based at the campaign's New York office, while renting a seaside cottage in Elberon, New Jersey.[152] In September, a strike by the United Mine Workers threatened a crisis which might cause problems for McKinley. Hanna believed that the miners' grievances were just, and he persuaded the parties to allow him to arbitrate. With Hanna's aid, the two sides arrived at a negotiated settlement.[153]

Hanna was called upon to do only small amounts of fundraising this time: no great educational campaign was required, and the corporations were willing to give.[146] The President gave only one speech, the formal acceptance of his nomination in Canton in July.[147] Roosevelt, on the other hand, traveled widely across the nation giving speeches.[148] The New Yorker traveled 21,000 miles (34,000 km) in the campaign, reaching 24 of the 45 states.[149] Hanna was now a public figure, and wanted to campaign for the Republicans in the western states. McKinley, however, was reluctant, as Hanna had varied from the administration's position on trusts in a recent speech. McKinley sent Postmaster General Charles Emory Smith to Chicago, where Hanna then was, to talk him out of the trip. Hanna rapidly discerned that Smith had been sent by the President, and told him, "Return to Washington and tell the President that God hates a coward." McKinley and Hanna met in Canton several days later and settled their differences over lunch. Hanna made his speaking tour in the West.[150] According to Hanna biographer Thomas Beer, Hanna's tour was a great success, though many viewers were surprised he did not wear suits decorated with the "dollar mark".[151]

The Democrats nominated Bryan a second time at their convention. This time, Bryan ran with a broader agenda,and attacked McKinley as an imperialist for taking the Spanish colonies. The Democratic candidate also urged increased use of the antitrust laws, and alleged that McKinley had been lax in their enforcement.[144] Hanna summed up the Republican campaign in four words, "Let well enough alone."[145]

On his return to Washington after the convention nominated McKinley and Roosevelt, Hanna wrote to the President, "Well, it was a nice little scrap at Phila[delphia]. Not exactly to my liking with my hand tied behind me. However, we got through in good shape and the ticket is all right. Your duty to the country is to live for four years from next March."[143]

Matter! Matter! Why, everybody's gone crazy! What is the matter with all of you? Here's this convention going headlong for Roosevelt for Vice President. Don't any of you realize that there's only one life between that madman and the Presidency? Platt and Quay are no better than idiots! What harm can he do as Governor of New York compared to the damage he will do as President if McKinley should die?[141]

Vice President Hobart had died in late 1899. President McKinley was content to leave the choice of a vice presidential candidate for 1900 to the upcoming Republican convention. New York Senator Platt disliked his state's governor, former Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt, who had pursued a reformist agenda in his year and a half in office. Platt hoped to sideline Roosevelt politically by making him vice president. Roosevelt was a popular choice in any event because of his well-publicized service during the Spanish–American War, and Platt had little trouble persuading state delegations to vote for Roosevelt after McKinley's renomination. Quay was a close Platt ally in the effort to make Roosevelt vice president. Hanna, who felt Roosevelt was overly impulsive, did not want him on the ticket, but did not realize that the efforts were serious until he was already at the convention in Philadelphia. As many of the delegates were political appointees, Hanna hoped to persuade McKinley to use patronage to get the delegates to vote for another candidate. After emerging from the telephone booth from which he had tried and failed to get McKinley to agree, Senator Hanna stated, "Do whatever you damn please! I'm through! I won't have anything more to do with the convention! I won't take charge of the campaign! I won't be chairman of the national committee again!"[141][142] When asked what the matter was, Hanna replied,

An illustrated magazine cover. Two dollar
Although the currency question was not as prominent in 1900 as in 1896 this Judge magazine cover shows it still played its part in the campaign.

Campaign of 1900

The war resulted in a complete American victory. Nevertheless, Hanna was uncomfortable with the conflict. He stated during the war to a member of the public, "Remember that my folks were Quakers. War is just a damn nuisance."[138] After the Battle of El Caney, he viewed the American casualty lists and stated, "Oh, God, now we'll have this sort of thing again!"[139] After the war, Hanna supported McKinley's decision to annex Spanish colonies such as Puerto Rico and Guam.[140]

The Navy's report blamed an external cause, believed by many to be a Spanish mine or bomb, for the sinking of Maine (modern reports have suggested an internal explosion within a coal bunker). Despite the increased calls for war, McKinley hoped to preserve peace. However, when it became clear that the United States would accept nothing but Cuban independence, which the Spanish were not prepared to grant, negotiations broke off. On April 11, McKinley asked Congress for authority to secure Cuban independence, using force if necessary.[135] Hanna supported McKinley in obtaining that authority, though he stated privately, "If Congress had started this, I'd break my neck to stop it."[136] Spain broke off diplomatic relations on April 20; Congress declared war five days later, retroactive to April 21.[137]

As the nation waited for the report of the board of inquiry, many who favored war deemed McKinley too timid. Hanna and the President were [133] Nevertheless, Hanna supported McKinley's patient policy and acted as his point man in the Senate on the war issue.[134]

Senator Hanna, fresh from the bargain for a seat in the United States Senate, probably felt the need of recouping his Ohio expenses as well as helping his financial friends out of the hole when he began playing American patriotism against Wall Street money ... Hanna said there would be no war. He spoke as one having authority. His edict meant that Uncle Sam might be kicked and cuffed from one continent to another.[132]

On February 15, 1898, the American warship Maine sank in Havana harbor. Over 250 officers and men were killed.[129] It was (and is)[130] unclear if the explosion which caused Maine‍ '​s sinking was from an external cause or internal fault. McKinley ordered a board of inquiry while asking the nation to withhold judgment pending the result, but he also quietly prepared for war. The Hearst newspapers, with the slogan, "Remember the Maine and to hell with Spain!" pounded a constant drumbeat for war and blamed Hanna for the delay. According to the Hearst papers, the Ohio senator was the true master in the White House, and was vetoing war as bad for business.[131] Heart's New York Journal editorialized in March 1898:

Through 1897, McKinley maintained neutrality on Cuba, hoping to negotiate autonomy for the island. Nevertheless, pro-war elements, prominently including the Hearst newspapers, pressured McKinley for a more aggressive foreign policy.[125] On May 20, 1897, the Senate passed a resolution favoring intervention in Cuba, 41–14, with Hanna in the minority.[126] As the crisis slowly built through late 1897 and early 1898, Hanna became concerned about the political damage if McKinley, against popular opinion, kept the nation out of war. "Look out for Mr. Bryan. Everything that goes wrong will be in the Democratic platform in 1900. You can be damn sure of that!"[127] Nevertheless, the Ohio senator believed that McKinley's policy of quietly pressing Spain for colonial reform in Cuba had already yielded results without war, and would continue to do so.[128]

Even during the second Cleveland administration, Americans took keen interest in [124]

Spanish–American War

As the year 1900 began, Hanna hinted that he might not want to run McKinley's [122]

Although Hanna was reputed to control the administration's patronage, in fact, other men were more influential. McKinley's friend Joseph Smith, who had served as State Librarian of Ohio during McKinley's tenure as governor, probably had more influence over federal jobs until his death in 1898.[118] Charles Dawes, who was slated to be Comptroller of the Currency as soon as the incumbent left office, was also a McKinley confidant.[119] Joseph Bristow, whose duties as Fourth Assistant Postmaster General under McKinley involved patronage appointments, later wrote that the President "gave Hanna's requests great consideration and had confidence in the clearness of his opinion, but in the end he always followed his own judgment".[118]

Despite civil service reform, a president had a large number of posts to fill. It was customary at the time to fill many of the lower level positions with party political workers. Hanna had a voice in some of McKinley's appointments, but the President made the final decision. Hanna was allowed to recommend candidates for the majority of federal positions in Ohio, and was permitted a veto over Foraker's candidates. Hanna was also dominant in the South, where there were few Republican congressmen to lobby the President. He and McKinley decided on a system where many southern appointees were recommended by the state's member of the Republican National Committee and the defeated Republican congressional candidate for the area in question. Hanna and McKinley gave few places to those who had served under Harrison, as the two presidents were not friendly. "Silver Republicans", who had bolted the party at the convention or later, received nothing.[117]

Mark Hanna and William McKinley continued their friendship as they assumed their offices in March 1897. Senator Hanna was looking for a residence; President McKinley suggested that he stay at the Executive Mansion (as the White House was still formally known) until he found one. According to Hearst's New York Journal, "the Senator doubtless feels that if anyone has the right to make himself at home in the White House he is the man".[113][114] Hanna soon moved into the Arlington Hotel, close to the White House, where he occupied a large suite.[115] After the death of Vice President Hobart in November 1899, Hanna took over the lease on his house on Lafayette Square, across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House.[116]

Relationship with the President

In the end, "Hanna's tactics—whatever they really were" succeeded; he was re-elected with the barest possible majority.[111][112]

Given Hanna's determination to win and his willingness to play by the rules as they existed, money may have changed hands during the campaign, but if it did, it is important to remember the context. If Hanna engaged in such behavior, that was the way the game was played on both sides ... Hanna, of course, was not without resources. It is helpful, for example, when you are good friends with the president of the United States, a man also personally very influential in Ohio politics.[110]

When the legislature met on January 3, 1898, the anti-Hanna forces succeeded in organizing both houses of the legislature, The dissidents had not yet agreed upon a candidate; after several days of negotiation, they settled on the Republican mayor of Cleveland, Robert McKisson.[109] The Cleveland mayor was the insurgents' candidate for both the short and long Senate term, and had been elected in 1895 to his municipal position despite the opposition of Hanna and the Cleveland business community. Rumors flew in Columbus that legislators had been kidnapped by either or both sides, and allegations of bribery were made. James Rudolph Garfield, the late president's son, stated that he had been told by one Republican from Cleveland that he had to vote for McKisson because if he did not, his contracts to sell the city brick pavers would be cut off.[108] According to Horner,

The 1897 legislative elections in Ohio would determine who would vote on Hanna's bid for election for a full six-year term, and were seen as a referendum on McKinley's first year in office—the President visited Ohio to give several speeches, as did Bryan. McKinley was active behind the scenes, urging Republicans both inside and outside Ohio to support the senator. The 1897 Ohio Republican convention voted to support Hanna, as did county conventions in 84 of Ohio's 88 counties. The Republicans won the election, with the overwhelming number of Republican victors pledged to vote for Hanna.[108] However, a number of Republicans, mostly of the Foraker faction, did not want to re-elect Hanna, and formed an alliance with the Democrats.[108]

Sherman's acceptance of the post of Secretary of State did not assure Hanna of succeeding him as senator. A temporary appointment to the Senate was to be made by Ohio's governor, Republican Asa Bushnell; the legislature would then, in 1898, hold elections both for the final portion of Sherman's term (expiring in March 1899) and for the full six-year term to follow. Bushnell was of the Foraker faction—Foraker was by then a senator-elect, selected by the legislature to fill Ohio's other Senate seat for the term 1897 to 1903. Sherman, who was at that time still grateful for his Cabinet appointment, used his influence on Hanna's behalf; so did McKinley. Governor Bushnell did not want to appoint a leader of the opposing faction and authorized Foraker to offer the place to Representative Theodore E. Burton, who declined it. Rhodes suggests that the difficulty over obtaining a Senate seat for Hanna led McKinley to persist in his offer to make his friend Postmaster General into mid-February 1897.[103][104][105] Bushnell was a candidate for renomination and re-election in 1897; without Hanna's support his chances were smaller, and on February 21, Bushnell wrote to Hanna that he would appoint him in Sherman's place.[106] Foraker, in his memoirs, stated that Hanna was given the Senate seat because of McKinley's desires.[107]

Horner argues that the position of Secretary of State was the most important non-elective post in government, then often seen as a stepping stone to the presidency, and though Sherman no longer sought to be president, he was aware of the prestige.[100] According to Rhodes, "Sherman was glad to accept the Secretaryship of State. He exchanged two years in the Senate with a doubtful succession for apparently a four years' tenure of the Cabinet head of the new Republican administration, which was undoubtedly a promotion."[101] Rhodes suggested that Hanna did not give credence to warnings about Sherman's mental capacity in early 1897, though some of those tales must have been told by New York businessmen whom he trusted.[102] The stories were not believed by McKinley either; the President-elect in February 1897 called accounts of Sherman's mental decay "the cheap inventions of sensational writers or other evil-disposed or mistaken people".[102]

Hanna stated that he would accept no office in the McKinley administration, as he feared it would be seen as a reward for his political efforts.[96] He had long wished to be a senator, speaking of this desire as early as 1892.[97] Senator Sherman, now aged almost 74, faced a difficult re-election battle with the Democrats and the Foraker faction in 1898. On January 4, 1897, McKinley offered Sherman the office of Secretary of State; he immediately accepted. The poor record Sherman posted prior to his departure from office in 1898 led to attacks on Hanna, suggesting that a senile man had been placed in a key Cabinet position to accommodate him.[98] Foraker, in his memoirs, strongly implied that Sherman was moved out of the way to allow Hanna to have his Senate seat. An embittered Sherman stated in a letter after his departure as secretary, "When [McKinley] urged me to accept the position of Secretary of State, I accepted with some reluctance and largely to promote the wishes of Mark Hanna. The result was that I lost the position both of Senator and Secretary ... They deprived me of the high office of Senator by the temporary appointment as Secretary of State."[99]

In the wake of McKinley's election, according to historian James Ford Rhodes (who was also Hanna's brother-in-law, though a Democrat),[95] "Mark Hanna occupied an enviable position. Had it been usual, the freedom of Cleveland would have been conferred upon him."[96] According to John Hay, who would later become Secretary of State under McKinley, "What a glorious record Mark Hanna has made this year! I never knew him intimately until we went into this fight together, but my esteem and admiration for him have grown every hour."[96]

A political cartoon in color. Two caricatured gentlemen in suits sit at a table with large, exaggerated cutlery, a colossal turkey before them, marked
1896 Puck cover showing Hanna (left) and McKinley's Thanksgiving dinner—carving up the presidency.

Securing a Senate seat

McKinley advisor (1897–1901)

Senator (1897–1904)

We are through with the election, and before turning to the future I want to express to you my great debt of gratitude for your generous life-long and devoted service to me. Was there ever such unselfish devotion before? Your unfaltering and increasing friendship through more than twenty years has been to me an encouragement and a source of strength which I am sure you have never realized, but which I have constantly felt and for which I thank you from the bottom of my heart. The recollection of all those years of uninterrupted loyalty and affection, of mutual confidences and growing regard fill me with emotions too deep for the pen to portray. I want you to know, but I cannot find the right words to tell you, how much I appreciate your friendship and faith.[94]

On November 12, 1896, the President-elect wrote to his longtime friend, offering him a position in his Cabinet, and stating:

In late October, Hanna wrote to Harrison, thanking him for his campaigning efforts, "The outlook is generally encouraging, and I feel there is no doubt of our success."[87] On Tuesday, November 3, the voters had their say in most states. McKinley won 271 electoral votes to Bryan's 176. The Democratic candidate won in the South and in the western states except California and Oregon. Bryan was also successful in his native Nebraska and neighboring [93]

Hanna's fundraising campaign, in which he asked banks and millionaires for a contribution equal to 0.25% of their assets, was unprecedented in its scale, but the basic concept was not unusual.[81] According to Hanna biographer Croly, "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."[90] The largest election fundraising before that time had occurred in the 1888 presidential race, which was a polarizing election, closely fought over the tariff issue. In the 1888 campaign, Senator Quay (on behalf of Harrison) had sought funds from businessmen much as Hanna would eight years later. The first Harrison campaign raised about $1.8 million; Dawes, in charge of campaign spending for the Republicans in 1896, later stated that the McKinley campaign raised just over $3.5 million, though this did not include spending by state and local committees. In addition, the Republicans were supported by "in-kind" corporate contributions, such as discounted railway fares for delegations coming to Canton. These discounts were so steep that they led to the quip that it was cheaper to visit Canton than to stay at home. Contributions to Bryan's campaign were much smaller; he had few wealthy supporters and the largest donor was most likely Hearst; he donated about $40,000, and gave the Bryan campaign support in his papers.[81]

Four 19th-century gentlemen dressed in dark suits of the American style congregate in a drawing room, deep in discussion. The man nearest to the camera on the right of the image appears to be leading the conversation.
In addition to giving speeches from his front porch in 1896, McKinley (lower right) gave orders for the conduct of his campaign from the library of his Canton home.

The popularly accepted picture of Hanna's domination was not true. Though McKinley did leave to Hanna the immensely complicated and exceedingly arduous task of organizing the campaign and although he usually deferred to Hanna's judgment in this area, he himself retained control of the general structure and program. Nothing of significance was done without his approval. Hanna raised money, hired men, established headquarters offices, bought literature, with the same drive and skill that he managed his business. He was confident of his mastery of that kind of operation, but he never ceased to defer to McKinley's mastery of the grand strategy of politics.[89]

During the campaign, the Democratic newspapers, especially the papers owned by Hearst, attacked Hanna for his supposed role as McKinley's political master. The articles and cartoons have contributed to a lasting popular belief that McKinley was not his own man, but that he was effectively owned by the corporations, through Hanna. Homer Davenport's cartoons for the Hearst papers were especially effective in molding public opinion about Hanna. The Clevelander was often depicted as "Dollar Mark", in a suit decorated with dollar signs (a term for which "dollar mark" was a common alternative). McKinley's personal financial crisis allowed him to be convincingly depicted as a child, helpless in the hands of businessmen and their mere tool in the 1896 campaign.[88] Historian Stanley Jones, who studied the 1896 election, stated of this view:

Despite the initial popularity of Bryan's message, Hanna was convinced the Democrat's support would recede. "He's talking Silver all the time, and that's where we've got him", Hanna stated, pounding his desk, in July.[86] He proved correct; the silver enthusiasm waned by September and Bryan had no ready replacement for it. McKinley, on the other hand, convinced that his "sound money" campaign had worked, began to promote his tariff issue, stating to the crowds on his front lawn, "I do not know what you think about it, but I believe it is a good deal better to open the mills of the United States to the labor of America than to open the mints of the United States to the silver of the world."[87]

A political cartoon. A huge, grotesque, boyish figure stands with a half-eaten apple in his hand, looking back over his shoulder at a tiny man behind him.
1896 Homer Davenport cartoon, suggesting that Hanna would be the real president.

According to Rhodes, McKinley "spoke from the front veranda of his house in Canton to many deputations, some of them spontaneous, others arranged for."[82] Any delegation was welcome in Canton, so long as its leader wrote to McKinley in advance and introduced himself and his group. Delegations ranged up to thousands of people; if possible, delegation leaders were brought to Canton in advance to settle with McKinley what each would say. If this could not be arranged, the delegation was met at the train station by a McKinley agent, who would greet it and learn what the leader proposed to say in his address. The agent would suggest any fine-tuning necessary to make it fit within campaign themes, and send the information ahead by runner to McKinley, giving him time to prepare his response. The delegation would then march through the streets of Canton to McKinley's house, where by the end of the campaign the lawn was bare, the plants were dead, and the front porch, from which McKinley spoke, was in a state of decrepitude from souvenir hunters. McKinley was given no relief by the fall of night; delegations continued after dark thanks to the introduction of electric street lighting on the route. The delegations left behind gifts, which were put to use when possible, but four eagles, named "McKinley", "Mark Hanna","Republican", and "Protection", were donated to the local zoo. Among those who visited was Bryan himself, accompanied by his defeated rival, Bland—they were hospitably received by the startled McKinleys.[83][84][85]

A formative shot taken in front of an ornate colonial-style home. A middle-aged gentleman with thinning hair stands at center of a group of about fifteen men.
McKinley (center) with a delegation in front of the famous front porch

When Hanna and his associates saw the emotional appeal of the Bryan campaign for free silver, they decided upon an extensive and expensive effort to educate the electorate. The McKinley campaign had two main offices; one in Chicago, effectively run by Dawes, and one in New York, used by Hanna as a base of operations as he sought to gain support from New York financiers. Hanna's task was to raise the money; other campaign officials, such as Dawes, determined how to spend it. Being relatively unknown on the national scene, Hanna initially had little success, despite Wall Street's fear of Bryan. Some Wall Street titans, although disliking Bryan's positions, did not take him seriously as a candidate and refused to contribute to the McKinley campaign. Those who did know Hanna, such as his old schoolmate Rockefeller—the magnate's Standard Oil gave $250,000—vouched for him. Beginning in late July 1896, Hanna had an easier time persuading industrialists to give to the McKinley/Hobart campaign. He also gave large sums himself. This money went to pay for advertising, brochures, printed speeches and other means of persuading the voter; the country was flooded with such paper.[81]

According to Horner, "In 1896, as the country was mired in an economic slowdown that affected millions, a real, substantive policy debate was conducted by candidates who believed firmly in their respective positions."[80] Bryan, front porch campaign; he would remain at home in Canton and allow the people to come to him. As McKinley's wife, Ida, was an invalid, this also boosted his image as a good husband.[81]

A dramatic political scene. Beside a river stands a podium, on which a flagpole flies a huge American flag. Beneath the flag stands a candidate in a dark suit addressing an impressive crowd which takes up most of the photograph. Not only the quayside, but a ferry beside it on the water are packed full of people listening intently.
Bryan's whistle-stop tour during the 1896 campaign was unprecedented. Here he addresses a crowd in Wellsville, Ohio.

General election campaign

On the third day of the Democratic convention, former [79]

McKinley expected the election to be fought on the issue of tariffs; he was a well-known protectionist.[73] The Democrats met in convention in July in Chicago; former Missouri congressman Richard P. Bland was deemed likely to be the nominee. As McKinley awaited his opponent, he privately commented on the nationwide debate over silver, stating to his Canton crony, Judge Day, that "This money matter is unduly prominent. In thirty days you won't hear anything about it."[77] The future Secretary of State and Supreme Court justice responded: "In my opinion in thirty days you won't hear of anything else."[77]

McKinley had, in 1878, voted for the Bland–Allison Act, which required the government to purchase large quantities of silver bullion to be struck into money, and in 1890 had voted for the Sherman Silver Purchase Act. Despite the candidate's past friendliness towards silver currency, McKinley and Hanna decided that an explicit mention of the gold standard in the party platform would be a better strategy than remaining silent on the issue. McKinley sent Hanna to the convention with a draft plank calling for maintenance of the gold standard, which Hanna successfully placed in the party platform. The adoption of the plank caused some Republicans, mostly from the West, to walk out of the convention. As they left, Hanna stood on a chair, shouting "Go! Go! Go!"[76]

A major issue, going into the 1896 election cycle, was the question of the currency. The United States, since 1873, had effectively been on the silver dollar was worth about $0.53, and under such proposals, silver worth that much would be returned to depositors as a one-dollar coin, "free"—that is, without a charge for the Mint's costs for assaying and coining.[75]

A man in his thirties wearing a dark suit holds his hands together in front of him as he looks to his right. In the background can be seen the stars and stripes.
William Jennings Bryan, seen during the 1896 campaign.

Currency question; Democratic nomination

In St. Louis, the bosses again tried to secure political favors in exchange for their support; with little need to deal, Hanna, backed by McKinley via telephone from Canton, refused. McKinley was nominated easily. To balance the ticket, McKinley and Hanna selected New Jersey party official and former state legislator Garret Hobart, an easterner, as vice-presidential candidate. The convention duly nominated Hobart; Hanna was elected chairman of the Republican National Committee for the next four years.[72]

As the convention approached, journalists awoke to the fact that McKinley would, most likely, be the Republican nominee. Those newspapers that were Democratic in their outlook, including publisher William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal, sent reporters to Canton to dig up dirt on McKinley. The candidate had a sterling reputation for personal and political honesty, and reporters found that even McKinley's few personal enemies spoke well of him. McKinley's financial problem in 1893 was one of the few marks on his record, and the newspapers began to suggest that those who had made large contributions to aid him would own him as president. Attacks on some of McKinley's associates, such as Chicago publisher H. H. Kohlsaat or McKinley's old friend from his days as a practicing lawyer, Judge William R. Day, cut little ice with voters; the press had better luck with Hanna. The Journal began to describe McKinley's backers as a "Syndicate", staking money to secure a bought-and-paid-for president. Journal reporter Alfred Henry Lewis attracted considerable attention when he wrote, "Hanna and the others will shuffle and deal him like a pack of cards."[71]

A key to defeating the bosses' "favorite son" strategy was Illinois. A young Chicago businessman and McKinley supporter, Charles Dawes (who would thirty years later be vice president under Coolidge) worked at Illinois district and state conventions to elect delegates pledged to McKinley. Dawes and Hanna worked closely together, with the latter relying on the young entrepreneur to secure support from his connections in the Chicago business community. Despite the opposition of Illinois' Republican political machine, Dawes and Hanna were able to secure all but a few of Illinois' delegates for McKinley, giving the former Ohio governor a strong advantage going into the convention.[70] According to Williams, "As early as March 1896, the bandwagon had become a steamroller."[62]

McKinley's most formidable rival for the nomination was former president Harrison, but in February 1896, Harrison declared he would not run for president a third time. The eastern bosses were hostile to McKinley for failing to agree to the offer they had made to Hanna, and they decided to seek support for local favorite son candidates, believing that McKinley could be forced to bargain for support at the convention if he was denied a majority. The bosses supported candidates such as Speaker Reed, Senator Quay and former vice president [68][69]

Through the months leading up to [66][67]

McKinley and Hanna made an effective team. The Major commanded, decided general strategies, selected issues and programs. He stressed ideals ... Hanna organized, built coalitions, performed the rougher work for which McKinley had neither taste nor energy. Importantly, they shared a Hamiltonian faith in the virtue of industrialism, central authority, and expansive capitalism. That faith, triumphant in the 1896 presidential election, became one of the reasons for the vital importance of that election.[62]

Historian R. Hal Williams summarized the relationship between McKinley and Hanna:

McKinley's public hesitation did not prevent Hanna from laying the groundwork for the nomination. He journeyed east to meet with political bosses such as Senators [65]

After leaving business, Hanna rented a house in [64]

Nominating McKinley

Campaign of 1896

McKinley was easily re-elected as governor in 1893. Despite the poor economic times in Ohio, he remained popular, and spoke across much of the nation for Republican candidates. He followed the usual Ohio custom and stepped down at the end of two two-year terms, returning home to Canton in January 1896 to municipal celebrations. The Canton [60] To devote full-time to McKinley's presidential campaign, Hanna in 1895 turned over management of his companies to his brother Leonard.[61] Mark Hanna was certain, as he stated as McKinley's campaign began, that "nothing short of a miracle or death will prevent his being the nominee of the party in '96".[62]

Among those who suffered reverses in the financial [57]

Harrison and his adherents were unimpressed by McKinley's conduct, recalling that he had cut off talk of a candidacy in 1888, but had not done so in 1892.[54] When McKinley led the delegation of Republican dignitaries sent to formally advise Harrison of his convention triumph, the President, angered over the "profusion of McKinley buttons, placards and streamers that littered [his] path to victory", had only a cold formal greeting for the Ohio governor.[55] Nevertheless, Hanna wrote in a letter that "I do not consider that Governor McKinley was placed in any false position by what was done ... Governor McKinley's position today as a result of all that transpired at Minneapolis is in the best possible shape for his future. His bearing and conduct and personal magnetism won the hearts and respect of everybody."[54] McKinley campaigned loyally for President Harrison, who was defeated by former president Cleveland in the November election, and according to the governor's secretary, Charles Bawsel, "[McKinley] is bound to be the nominee for the presidency, and the very fact of the defeat this year will elect him the next time."[56]

President Harrison had proven unpopular even in his own party, and with the start of 1892, McKinley was talked about as a potential candidate.[51] Although Harrison refused to believe that McKinley would oppose him, his political managers, dubbed the "Twelve Apostles", were less trusting, and arranged for the governor to be permanent chairman of the convention in [52][53]

I went first to see Governor McKinley. He urged me to accept and asked me to see Mr. Hanna, which I did the next day. The reasons both urged were that the campaigns from 1892 down to 1896 must be conducted with a view to bringing about McKinley's nomination in 1896. McKinley spoke of it and so did Mr. Hanna.[50]

As early as 1892, McKinley and Hanna began to prepare for the 1896 campaign. Charles Dick recalled being asked to take the Republican state chairmanship:

A cigarette card bearing a colour image of a politician, denoted to be
Although McKinley did not run in 1892, the Duke Tobacco Company considered him a presidential possibility that year and issued a card for him.

Preparing for a run

Victories by McKinley in the gubernatorial race and by the Republicans in securing a majority in the legislature in 1891 did not guarantee Sherman another term, as he was challenged for his seat by Foraker. Hanna was instrumental in keeping enough Republican support to secure victory by Sherman in the Republican caucus, assuring his election by the legislature. Hanna hired detectives to find legislators who had gone into hiding and were believed to be Foraker supporters, and saw to it they supported Sherman.[47] Stern notes that the defeat of Foraker "was ascribable largely to the efforts of Hanna".[48] McKinley's victory in what was generally a bad year for Republicans made him a possible presidential contender, and Hanna's involvement in the McKinley and Sherman victories established him as a force in politics. President Harrison attempted to neutralize Hanna, who was ill-disposed to the President and likely to oppose his renomination, by offering to make him treasurer of the Republican National Committee. Hanna declined, feeling it would make him beholden to the administration.[49]

In 1890 McKinley was defeated for re-election to Congress. This was not seen as a major setback to his career; he was deemed beaten by Democratic [46]

Hanna and his allies, such as Congressman Benjamin Butterworth, opposed Foraker's effort to secure a third term as governor in 1889. Foraker gained renomination, but fell in the general election.[45] In November 1889, Hanna traveled to Washington to manage McKinley's campaign for Speaker of the House. The effort failed; another Republican, Thomas B. Reed of Maine, was elected.[42]

However, Hanna biographer Clarence A. Stern suggested that while the industrialist admired McKinley's loyalty to Sherman, the principal reason that he decided to promote McKinley's career was the congressman's advocacy of high tariffs, which he also favored.[44]

In choosing McKinley as the object on which to lavish his energies, Hanna had not made a purely rational decision. He had been magnetized by a polar attraction. Cynical in his acceptance of contemporary political practices, Hanna was drawn to McKinley's scruples and idealistic standards, like a hardened man of the world who becomes infatuated with virgin innocence.[43]

According to McKinley biographer Margaret Leech: [42] Harrison

[39] According to Horner, Foraker was the more embittered of the two as the years passed, feeling that if it had not been for that dispute, Foraker, not McKinley, might have become president.[38] However, Ohio newspaper publisher J. B. Morrow contradicted Foraker's account, stating: "I was at the convention in 1888 and know Senator Foraker [as he later became] brought great scandal to the Ohio people who were there and to the delegates with his secret work with Mr. Blaine's friends ... Mr. Hanna became thoroughly angered at what he thought was Senator Foraker's bad faith."[33]

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