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Episode 35

1880 Greenback National Convention
Fri, 2017-Jun-09 00:59 UTC
Length - 3:28

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The featured article for Friday, 09 June 2017 is 1880 Greenback National Convention.

The 1880 Greenback Party National Convention convened at the Interstate Exposition Building in Chicago from June 9 to 11, 1880, to select presidential and vice presidential nominees and write a party platform for the Greenback Party in the United States presidential election of 1880. Delegates chose James B. Weaver of Iowa for President and Barzillai J. Chambers of Texas for Vice President.

The Greenback Party was a newcomer to the political scene in 1880, having arisen, mostly in the nation's West and South, as a response to the economic depression that followed the Panic of 1873. During the American Civil War, Congress had authorized "greenbacks," a form of money redeemable in government bonds, rather than in gold, as was traditional. After the war, many Democrats and Republicans in the East sought to return to the gold standard, and the government began to withdraw greenbacks from circulation. The reduction of the money supply, combined with the economic depression, made life harder for debtors, farmers, and industrial laborers; the Greenback Party hoped to draw support from these groups.

Six men were candidates for the presidential nomination. Weaver, an Iowa congressman and Civil War general, was the clear favorite, but two other congressmen, Benjamin F. Butler of Massachusetts and Hendrick B. Wright of Pennsylvania, also commanded considerable followings. Weaver triumphed quickly, winning a majority of the 850 delegates' votes on the first ballot. Chambers, a Texas businessman and Confederate veteran, was likewise nominated on the initial vote. More tumultuous was the fight over the platform, as delegates from disparate factions of the left-wing movement clashed over women's suffrage, Chinese immigration, and the extent to which the government should regulate working conditions. Votes for women was the most contentious of these, with the party ultimately endorsing the suffragists' cause, despite a vocal minority's opposition.

Weaver and Chambers left the convention with high hopes for the third party's cause, but in the end they were disappointed. The election was a close contest between the Republican, James A. Garfield, and the Democrat, Winfield Scott Hancock, with Garfield being the narrow victor. The Greenback ticket placed a distant third, netting just over three percent of the popular vote.

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These podcasts are produced by Abulsme Productions based on Wikipedia content.

They are released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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Abulsme Productions also produces Curmudgeon's Corner, a current events podcast.

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