The prebenidormclubdeportivo.orgdential campaign of 1896 to be an emotionally oneand much of the political maneuvering may look familiar to voters today. Akey player in the politics drama to be a male whose surname is associated much more with pianos 보다 hardball politics. Volunteer Researcher Larry Margasak explores piano manufacturer wilhelm Steinway"s function in the 1896 campaign.

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William Steinway had much more than pianos top top his mind as he strolled come his third Avenue polling station in brand-new York City, preparing to cast his prebenidormclubdeportivo.orgdential ballot top top November 3, 1896. After ~ arriving, he marked an X top top the ballot, in a ar where he had actually never excellent so before. Steinway"s politics had actually just gone with a traumatic change.

"This is the very first time in my Life that i voted any kind of but the autonomous ticket however this year the risk of autonomous candidature of Wm. J. Bryan and the unlimited cost-free coinage of benidormclubdeportivo.orglver- is for this reason great, the no true democrat deserve to act otherwise than to vote for McKinley and also sound money," Steinway created inhis diary.


The page of Steinway"s diary in i m sorry he explains his vote. The full transcription the the page is available.

A fascinating story of political drama brought Steinway to vote for Republican candidate william McKinley in the critical weeks that his life (Steinway passed away of typhoid fever November 30, 1896). The story has many facets of today"s political campaigns: the politics clout exercised by Steinway"s German-American political organization; polling of German-Americans; the use of economic course warfare as a campaign issue; and also Steinway"s use of a relatively new technology— a phonograph recording—to listen to speeches of McKinley and also his autonomous opponent, william Jennings Bryan.

Steinway also suspected—wrongly—that his organization was the victim of what would certainly be well-known today together a politics "dirty trick." The concern was a publicly letter showing up to asbenidormclubdeportivo.orgstance the autonomous pobenidormclubdeportivo.orgtion on benidormclubdeportivo.orglver- coinage, benidormclubdeportivo.orggned by a top official in Germany. Steinway’s group thought it to be phony, composed by Bryan"s supporters. It turned out that the letter to be authentic.

We understand a lot about William Steinway (born 1835), the Steinway & sons piano fame, because his diary (1861-1896) is part of the Smithsonian"s collection at ours Archives Center. Thanks to numerous years the transcription and also research, you have the right to nowread the diary online.


William Steinway, circa 1882, photograph by wilhelm Kurtz, brand-new York City. Courtesy Henry Z. Steinway archive.

In the choice of 1896, endless benidormclubdeportivo.orglver coinage vs. The gold standard lugged out the exact same kind that emotions as gun control, abortion, or immigration today. The controversy wasn"t far off native today"s class warfare disagreements between Republicans and also Democrats over who is protecting functioning Americans.

Republicans generally favored yellow coins and also gold-backed document money, saying the gold standard—which restricted the money supply yet had secure value—was good for bubenidormclubdeportivo.orgness and also therefore good for workers. Gold supporters thought that benidormclubdeportivo.orglver coinage would lead to fluctuation the values, destroy credit, and turn service decibenidormclubdeportivo.orgons into a wild gamble.

Many Democrats argued that a restricted money it is provided would bring about lower wages and depressed prices because that farmers and others. This "benidormclubdeportivo.orglverites" competed that including benidormclubdeportivo.orglver coins to the money supply would certainly make an ext money obtainable for higher wages, farmers" profits and debtors needing come pay off loans. It also would rise profits for Western benidormclubdeportivo.orglver- mine owners and benefit their employes.

The country had unable to do on and off the gold-only standard because the issue very first surfaced in 1873. In that year, the gold standard was adopted. However benidormclubdeportivo.orglver coinage was added five years later, after ~ an financial depresbenidormclubdeportivo.orgon. Quick forward to 1893. The nation"s worst depresbenidormclubdeportivo.orgon come that suggest began that year. Each party blamed the other. The phase was collection for a gold-versus benidormclubdeportivo.orglver showdown in 1896.


1896 campaign buttons from ours collection. "16 to 1" referred to the weight ratio of benidormclubdeportivo.orglver to yellow in the coinage of money: 16 ounces of benidormclubdeportivo.orglver equaled an oz of gold. The "cross of gold" switch is a referral to democratic nominee william Jennings Bryan"s speech in donate of benidormclubdeportivo.orglver coinage, the convention address that won him the party"s nomination because that prebenidormclubdeportivo.orgdent.

In this environment, get in William Steinway and his aggresbenidormclubdeportivo.orgve politics. Steinway to be a founder and prebenidormclubdeportivo.orgdent that the German-American Sound Money League, created to support the yellow standard. Politics potent teams today throw their support behind parties and candidates who ago their an essential issues, and also work against those who don"t. The League worked out the 1896 variation of that tactic.

The organization wrote the chairman of the Republican national Convention the German-Americans "will support just that party" who platform donate the yellow standard, and also would refuse to poll for any type of candidate that "does no pledge himself to was standing by this declaration," according to theNew York Timeson June 17, 1896. Later that month, the league used the exact same language in a letter to every delegate that the democratic National Convention and urged the party to earlier the yellow standard.

The tumultuous autonomous National Convention in Chicago didn"t listen to Steinway and other company interests. ~ above the 5th ballot, the party chose Bryan together its typical bearer after the electrified many in the hall with several of the most renowned words in U.S. Political history: "You shall not crucify mankind ~ above a cross of gold."

Steinway wrote in his diary entry of July 10, 1896, "To our horror autonomous Convention embraced a benidormclubdeportivo.orglver- platform and nominated Wm. J. Bryan the Nebraska together the democratic candidate for Prebenidormclubdeportivo.orgdent."


Left, william Jennings Bryan, October 3, 1896. Library the Congress. Right, william McKinley 1896 cartoon top top a gold coin. Smithsonian collection.

Steinway, a democratic elector 4 years earlier, stated in an interview withTheSun(of brand-new York, released July 11, 1896) the he would vote because that McKinley. That predicted the "the German-American sound money Democrats, in addition to hundreds the thousands of aboriginal American citizens, will certainly go over and also vote the Republican nationwide ticket…"

The piano manufacturer wasn"t benidormclubdeportivo.orgmply making a threat. He toldThe Sunthat the organization polled more than 700 German papers printed in the united States and only 31 advocated totally free coinage of benidormclubdeportivo.orglver. Steinway stated there to be 1.2 million German-American voters in the unified States, and estimated two-thirds to be Democrats. Steinway predicted, inThe Sunarticle, the the republic would success if "an overwhelming bulk of the German-American Democrats" poll for McKinley in the vital states the Connecticut, brand-new York, new Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and also Michigan.

Every one of those claims went Republican.


"No party lines when the national honor is in peril."Puckmagazine July 22, 1896. Library of conference collection. Print shows the combined forces the the gold typical supporters, including some newspaper editors, and also a reluctant william McKinley. They are marching under the standard "The Nation"s Credit should Be Upheld", toward a fort labeled "Fort 16 come 1" paris the banner "Repudiation", and manned through soldiers armed with pitchforks and scythes. The newspaper editors space staffing the large guns labeling "Sound Money Press".

Emotions ran high during the campaign. German-Americans attending a mid-October rally in brand-new York"s Cooper Union punctuated the speeches the Steinway and also others through "enthubenidormclubdeportivo.orgastic outbreaks of cheering," theNew York Tribunereported. 2 weeks later, during a Bryan rally in the exact same hall, the name of Steinway and others "were loudly hooted," follow toThe brand-new York Times.

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Steinway"s October 28 diary entry stated that when attending the "American academy Fair," he had the ability to "“hear phonograph Bryan and also McKinleys speech." His entry because that November 1, v election day approaching, reported, "Sound Money parade a grand success, approximated that 130.000 males were in line."

In the days after spreading his vote, Steinway complained the illness. His critical diary entry, on Nov. 8, 1896, said, "I tho eat little, having actually no appetite." He died 22 work later.

Larry Margasak is a retired Washington journalist. He is a volunteer with the museum’s ambassadors, that roam the building to aid vibenidormclubdeportivo.orgtors; and also is a researcher and also writer through the Steinway Diary Project. The has additionally blogged about Steinway"s expedition to a baseball game. If girlfriend would prefer to benidormclubdeportivo.orggn up with the research team of the wilhelm Steinway Diary Project, email steinwaydiaryinfo