The Presidential Election 1884


Map Code: Ax00070

The election of 1884 is significant because New York Governor Grover Cleveland defeated Republican James G. Blaine, making him the first Democratic president in the post-Civil War era. The election was marked by claims of scandal and dishonesty, and became more about the candidates than policy. Blaine was accused of receiving financial benefits and taking bribes; it was revealed that Cleveland had fathered a son before he was married. Cleveland responded to Republican chants of ‘Ma, ma, where’s my pa?’ by unexpectedly telling the truth. It was a tactic that paid off as his honesty appealed to many voters, narrowly winning him the popular vote. The Electoral College vote was decided by New York State and Blaine lost, making Cleveland the first Democratic president since 1856.

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