NEWS11 Remembers: St. Louis Political Conventions

(KPLR) – Regardless of your politics a lot of St. Louisan are probably watching this week`s democratic convention with a bit of envy because, St. Louis was in the running to be the host city.

But even if we had won, it would hardly have been a first for St. Louis.

It probably is true that in this political season that most St. Louisans don`t realize St. Louis itself has been the home of a number of national political conventions dating from the 19th and into the 20th century.

Five in fact, starting with the democrats in 1876.

Samuel Tilden was nominated by the democratic party, you know of course because; you have never heard his name in connection with the presidency that he didn`t win and instead the presidency went to Rutherford b. Hayes.

Undaunted by the los, the democrats returned to St. Louis in 1888 nominating Grover Cleveland, who won.

Then in 1896; the GOP came to town, nominating William McKinley, who also won.

There was a lot of hoopla surrounding these conventions, there were parades and there were horns and there were demonstrators of all kinds who had causes for which they were advocating.

The democrats returned again in 1904, but got little notice thanks to the World’s Fair in forest park.

But they came back again anyway in 1916.  Sending Woodrow Wilson back to the White House with a cause to champion thanks in part to his experience in St. Louis.

There were women who demonstrating for female suffrage who were lining the street and the point was made clearly, as the men walked from the Jefferson hotel to the Coliseum that were was a very powerful and strong group of people; who were very much in favor of suffrage for women and of course female suffrage came not too long after that.

In 1896, it wasn’t just the republicans who came to St Louis, in July of that year, the city also hosted conventions for the Bi-Metallic party.  Which wanted to put the united states on a gold and silver standard and the Populist Party; who ended up nominating the same man as the democrats, William Jennings Bryan.  Who despite having the backing of two political parties, still lost the election.

NEWS11 remembers is brought to you by the Missouri History Museum and America’s Best Contacts and Eyeglasses.  I`m Paul Schankman.

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