History of the New York Times, 1851-1921

By Elmer Davis | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
The Times in Transition, 1884-1896

THE campaign of 1884 definitely closed an epoch in the history of The Times. It is hardly likely that anybody foresaw how complete would be the break with the party which for twenty-eight years had commanded the loyal support of the paper. The Republicans had no monopoly of corruption and incompetence, and it was quite possible that the Democrats might make a nomination as bad as that of the party in power. But they did not. Cleveland was not very well known in 1884, but his good record as Governor had given the editors of The Times confidence in his principles and his capacity. At that time they were not personally acquainted with him; the long personal friendship between Mr. Miller and the President was a later growth. But what they knew of his public record was satisfactory, and they soon came to the conclusion that he deserved the paper's support. And they had a good deal of company; in the latter part of July a considerable number of the best men in the Republican party decided to support Cleveland, and the Mugwump campaign was on.

So, if The Times had left the party with which it had so long been associated, it found itself almost at once recognized as the principal spokesman for a group which represented much of the best of the old

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