A Realignment Election Coming ~ 1896


The year begins on a Friday. Around the world, leaders include Queen Victoria of Great Britain, age 76, reigning since 1837; her current prime minister is Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, age 65, in office since 1895 and serving as prime minister for the third time; Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, age 16, reigning since 1890 under the regency of her mother, Queen Emma, age 37; Emperor Guangxu of China, age 23, reigning since 1875 under the Dowager Empress Cixi, age 60, who rules de facto; Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary, age 65, ruling since 1848; Emperor Meiji of Japan, age 43, ruling since 1867; Emperor Wilhelm II, age 37, Emperor of Germany, ruling since 1888; Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia, age 51, ruling since 1889; Czar Nicholas II of Russia, age 27, reigning since 1894;Sultan Abdul Hamid II of the Ottoman Empire, age 53, ruling since 1876; Sultan Barghash bin Said of Zanzibar, age 39, ruling since 1870; King Leopold II of Belgium, age 60, ruling since 1865; King Christian IX of Denmark, age 77, ruling since 1863; King George I of Greece, age 50, ruling since 1863; King Umberto I of Italy, age 51, ruling since 1878; King Alfonso XIIIof Spain, age 9, reigning since1886 under the regency of his mother, Queen Maria Christiana age 37; King Oscar II of the United Kingdom of Sweden and Norway, age 67, ruling since 1872; King Carlos I of Portugal, age 32, ruling since 1889; Mackenzie Bowell, Prime Minister of Canada, age 72, in office since 1894; President Felix Faure of France, age 55, in office since 1895; President Joseph James Chessman of Liberia, age 39, in office since 1892; President Grover Cleveland of the United States, age 58, in office since 1893; President Porfirio Diaz of Mexico, age 65, in office since 1884; President Rafael Yglesias Castro of Costa Rica, age 34, in office since 1894.

Boundary_lines_of_British_Guiana_1896 On the international stage, Great Britain and the United States remain at odds over the dispute about where the boundary lies between Venezuela and British Guyana and many people feel that the two countries sit on the verge of open war. The Cleveland Administration’s assertion that the Monroe Doctrine limits or prohibits British action in the Western Hemisphere has alienated not only Britain but Canada and a number of Latin American countries as well. The on-going rebellion in Cuba against Spain continues to draw much American sympathy for the Cubans. Spain expresses concern about Americans secretly supplying arms, ammunition and supplies to the rebels. As 1895 ends and 1896 begins some Englishmen, led by Leander Starr Jameson, are attempting to foment armed rebellion against the Boer government in the Transvaal of South Africa. A 25 year old Russian revolutionary named Vladimir Ilich Ulanov has taken the pseudonym “Lenin” as he tries to organize workers against the Czar’s government. In the Ottoman Empire Armenian people endure severe persecution. Japan has defeated China in a short war. China is borrowing heavily from several European powers as well as Japan and the United States. Italy is failing in its attempts to conquer Abyssinia [Ethiopia].

The population of the United States is approximately 70,885,000 people, 48.9% are female, 39.7% live in urban areas, 54.0% are age 24 and younger, 9.2% are age 55 and older. The largest concentration of population is in the Middle Atlantic states of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania where 20.4% of the population resides, while 7.4% live in New England, a combined 10.1% live in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, 3.9% live in Texas and only a combined 3.2% live in the three states of the Pacific coast (Washington, Oregon and California). There are 248,354 Native Americans living on reservations.


Of school age children, 14,498,956, or 71.8%, attend public elementary or high schools which will graduate 75,813 with high school diplomas. Public schools will spend $183,449,000 this year. Of the 400,296 public school teachers, 67.4% are women. New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, and Kansas have the largest numbers of teachers. Colleges and universities will grant 24,593 baccalaureate degrees, 18.6% of them to women, 1,478 master’s degrees, 17.9% to women and 271 doctoral degrees, only 12.9% to women.

Mail is delivered by 70,360 post offices which will sell 3,025,481,000 stamps and deliver 5,693,719,000 pieces of mail, generating $82,499,000 of revenue but spending $90,932,000 in operating costs. Telegraph offices number 21,725, sending 58,760,000 messages over 827,000 miles of wire and generating $20,820,000 in revenue. Approximately 2,000 daily newspapers have an average daily circulation of nearly 15,000,000. There are 404,000 telephones in use or 5.7 phones per every 1,000 people, of whom 281,695 subscribe to telephone service. Telephone companies employ 11,930 people and use 450,728 miles of telephone wire.


Railroads operate on 182,777 miles of track, with 35,950 engines pulling 33,003 passenger cars and 1,221,887 freight cars. The 511,773 passengers will generate $266,563,000 in revenue while the railroads will earn another $786,616,000 for hauling freight.

United States companies will export $1,056,000,000 worth of goods and materials while importing $842,000,000 of goods and materials, with a favorable trade surplus of $214,000,000. Of the trading partners for American exports, the largest shares are 45.9% go to the United Kingdom, 11.0% to Germany, 6.8% to Canada, 5.3% to France, 2.2% to Mexico, 1.6% to Brazil, and the balance to other parts of the world. Of American imports, the largest shares are 21.8% come from the United Kingdom, 12.0% from Germany, 9.1% from Brazil, 8.5% from France, 5.2% from Canada, 5.1% from Cuba, 3.3% from Japan, 2.8% from China, and the balance from other parts of the world.

Over 85% of America’s wealth is controlled by approximately 12% of the population.

Booker T Washington, African American educator and author, age 39, encourages black people to refrain from political involvement and instead to concentrate on advancement in education and job training.

The Prohibition Party and the W.C.T.U. maintain strength and express concern about the 89,992,555 gallons of distilled spirits being produced and consumed in the United States.

American forces on active duty include 27,375 in the Army, 12,088 in the Navy and 2,217 in the Marine Corps.

The first session of the 54th Congress began on December 2, 1895 with the Republicans controlling the House of Representatives by a significant margin and holding a slim margin in the Senate. In the House, Republicans hold 240 seats, the Democrats 104, the Populists 7 and the Silver Party 1. The Speaker of the House is Thomas B Reed, age 56, a Republican from Maine, having served in Congress since 1877. In the Senate Republicans hold 42 seats, Democrats 39, the Populists 4 and the Silver Party 2.


Thomas B Reed


Economic issues promise to dominate the campaign. Democratic hopefuls for the nomination include Horace Boies, Richard Bland, Joseph Blackburn and William Jennings Bryan. The Republican field includes William McKinley, Thomas B Reed, Matthew Quay, Levi Morton and William Allison.

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