The election of 1916 had an unusual setting. President Wilson's strong personality satisfied the country as a whole, and had united his party. At the Democratic Convention held in St. Louis on June 12 his will dominated the delegates, and both he and Marshall were nominated by acclamation. The platform, written by him, met with some opposition in Committee for its clear-cut advocacy of Woman Suffrage, but it was adopted without open friction.

The Republican gathering at Chicago on June 7 had several able men as candidates for the nomination, but Charles E. Hughes of the Supreme Court was clearly in the lead. The ballots:  13 other candidates received votes. On the third ballot Hughes received the nomination. Senator Fairbanks became the candidate for Vice-President.

A few days later the Progressive Party nominated Theodore Roosevelt for President and John M. Parker, of Louisiana, for Vice-president. Roosevelt on June 26 declined the nomination and urged his friends to vote for Hughes. The reunited Republican Party seemed likely to win, for Wilson had embittered many in the East by protesting in notes — able though they were — Germany's submarine policy instead of declaring war. But the West was not yet ready for the conflict, and a phrase in the Democratic platform, "He kept us out of war," added thousands of votes to his standard. The campaign was carried on in a tense atmosphere. Mr. Wilson remained at the summer White House in New Jersey, except for a speech in Chicago. Mr. Hughes toured the country. The election took place on November 7, and the issue hung in the balance for three days, because of the close contest in California which finally by 3,773 votes gave her electoral votes and the election to Wilson. Voters in that state believed that Mr. Hughes had slighted Senator Hiram Johnson in a San Francisco hotel, although the Republican candidate seems to have been unaware that the popular Senator was there at the time.

Wilson and Marshall lost their home states of New Jersey and Indiana, but had 277 electoral votes to 254 for Hughes and Fairbanks.

From A History of the Presidency, by Edward Stanwood. Originally published by Houghton Mifflin in 1928.


Articles in this Issue

1864 - George B. McClellan (D)
1868 - Salmon P. Chase (D)
1872 - Horace Greeley (D)
1876 - Samuel J. Tilden (D)
1880 - Winfield Scott Hancock (D)
1884 - James G. Blaine (R)
1888 - Grover Cleveland (D)
1904 - Alton B. Parker (D)
1908 - William J. Bryan (D)
1916 - Charles E. Huges (R)
1920 - James M. Cox (D)