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Presidential Election of 1896: A Resource Guide

Republican Party presidential campaign poster
Our home defenders.
1 print: lithograph, color.
Prints & Photographs Division.
Reproduction Number:

The digital collections of the Library of Congress contain a wide variety of material associated with the presidential election of 1896, including photographs, political cartoons, broadsides, newspaper articles, and sheet music. This guide compiles links to digital materials related to the presidential election of 1896 that are available throughout the Library of Congress Web site. In addition, it provides links to external Web sites focusing on the 1896 election and a selected bibliography.

1896 Presidential Election Results [1]

Political Party
Presidential Nominee
VP Nominee
Electoral College
Popular Vote
William McKinley
Garret Hobart
Democratic/ Populist
William Jennings Bryan
Arthur Sewall/Thomas Watson

Library of Congress Web Site | External Web Sites | Selected Bibliography

Digital Collections

The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

The Songs of America presentation allows you to explore American history as documented in the work of some of our country's greatest composers, poets, scholars, and performers. The collection includes the following sheet music from the 1896 presidential election.

Printed Ephemera: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera

The Printed Ephemera collection comprises 28,000 primary-source items dating from the seventeenth century to the present and encompasses key events and eras in American history. While the broadside format represents the bulk of the collection, there are a significant number of leaflets and some pamphlets.

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers

Chronicling America

This site allows you to search and view millions of historic American newspaper pages. Search this collection to find hundreds of newspaper articles about the presidential election of 1896.

A selection of articles on the 1896 presidential election includes:

In addition, the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room has created a series of topics guides to the newspapers included in Chronicling America, including the presidential election of 1896.

Prints & Photographs Division

Pictorial Americana: Selected Images from the Collections of the Library of Congress

Pictorial Americana, a Library of Congress publication, contains a chapter listing selected images related to the 1896 presidential election.

Prints & Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC)

Search PPOC using the following subject headings to find additional prints, political cartoons, and other digital images related to the presidential election of 1896. A selection of images from the 1896 presidential election includes:

Today in History

March 19

William Jennings Bryan, gifted orator and three-time presidential candidate was born on March 19, 1860, in Salem, Illinois. In 1896, he defeated incumbent President Grover Cleveland to win the Democratic Party nomination for president. Just thirty-six, Bryan managed to attract the support of mainstream Democrats as well as third party Populists. The unpopularity of the incumbent Democratic Party combined with the well-filled war chest of Republican candidate William McKinley, catapulted McKinley into the White House. Still, Bryan's following was large enough to result in two additional runs for president. Bryan lost again to McKinley in 1900 and to William Howard Taft in 1908.

External Web Sites

1896: The Presidential Campaign External Link

This site created by Vassar College features political cartoons from the 1896 presidential campaign. It also contains biographical information on the candidates, themes of the campaign, election results, and a bibliography.

The American Presidency Project: Election of 1896 External Link

The American Presidency Project Web site presents election results from the 1896 presidential election. This site also contains the Democratic Party Platform External Link and the Republican Party Platform External Link of 1896.

HarpWeek: The Presidential Elections 1860-1912 External Link

This HarpWeek Web site features political cartoons from Harper's Weekly, Leslie's Illustrated Weekly, Vanity Fair, Puck, Judge, and American Political Prints, 1766-1876: A Catalog of the Collections in the Library of Congress. It provides explanations of the historical context and images of each cartoon, campaign overviews, biographical sketches, a review of the era's major issues, and other valuable information related to the 1896 presidential election.

Selected Bibliography

Primary Sources

Official Proceedings of the Democratic National Convention Held in Chicago, Ill., July 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th, 1896. Logansport, Ind.: Wilson, Humphreys & Co., 1896.
LC Call Number: JK2313 1896 [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

Official Proceedings of the Eleventh Republican National Convention Held in the City of St. Louis, Mo., June 16, 17, and 18, 1896. Minneapolis: C.W. Johnson, 1896.
LC Call Number: JK2353 1896 [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

Bryan, William Jennings. The First Battle: A Story of the Campaign of 1896. Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1896.
LC Call Number: JK2317 1896a [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

Secondary Sources

Glad, Paul W. McKinley, Bryan, and the People. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1964.
LC Call Number: E710 .G55 [Catalog Record]

Harpine, William D. From the Front Porch to the Front Page: McKinley and Bryan in the 1896 Presidential Campaign. College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 2005.
LC Call Number: E710 .H37 2005 [Catalog Record]

Jones, Stanley L. The Presidential Election of 1896. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1964.
LC Call Number: E710 .J6 [Catalog Record]

Williams, R. Hal. Realigning America: McKinley, Bryan, and the Remarkable Election of 1896. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2010.
LC Call Number: E710 .W485 2010 [Catalog Record]


1. Presidential Elections, 1789-2008. (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2010), 143, 233.


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  October 23, 2018
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