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Republican Campaign
Despite discontent from farming and labor groups, Republicans and Democrats conducted a relatively quiet and courteous presidential campaign.  This was true partly because the nominees were a president and former president who upheld the dignity of that office by following the tradition of not campaigning openly for it.  Another reason was the declining health of Mrs. Harrison, who died of tuberculosis on October 25, 1892, two weeks before the election.  Although New England, much of the Mid-Atlantic, and the Far West were relatively safe territories for the Republicans, the Harrison campaign faced trouble in New York and the Midwest.  The addition of the Populists to the contest gave the Republican Party a glimmer of hope in the Democratic-dominated South.  Many Republicans were willing to jettison the party’s commitment to federal oversight of voting rights (the Force Bill), which aimed to protect Southern blacks, but Harrison stood firmly behind it. 

Whitelaw Reid, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, sought the cooperation of New York’s Boss Platt at two lengthy discussions in August, as did the president himself at a White House meeting on September 5.  Apologies were made on both sides and, although no explicit post-election promises were made, Platt agreed to campaign for Harrison.  Reid also needed a presidential push to take the stump, eventually campaigning in New York and the Midwest.  Ill health and grief over the recent deaths of two of his children kept Blaine from campaigning, but Reid convinced him to write a public letter endorsing Harrison.  With both parties supporting bimetallism, Republicans emphasized trade protectionism. 

Labor Unrest
In July, the presidential campaign was punctuated by strikes at silver mines in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and at Andrew Carnegie’s iron and steel plant in Homestead, Pennsylvania.  Violence at the Idaho silver mines between union strikers and the company’s armed guards resulted in several deaths.  President Harrison sent federal troops to restore order, thereby ending the strike.  In Pennsylvania, the Iron and Steel Workers’ union had difficulty reaching agreement with manager Henry Clay Frick on a new contract that reduced some wages by 18%.  When the union went on strike, the company locked out all workers, who then attacked the guards of the replacement workers.  When the company shipped in Pinkerton detectives, fighting erupted between the strikers and Pinkertons, ending with three guards and seven workers killed.  The state’s National Guard restored order.  On July 23, Frick was shot by an anarchist (unconnected to the strikers), but recovered.  Leading Republicans pressured Frick to settle the strike so that Democrats could not capitalize on the incident, but he refused.  Finally in mid-November, after the election, some of the strikers voted to return to work.

 
 
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