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1896 Presidential Election of William McKinley: Topics in Chronicling America

In 1896, President McKinley was elected to his first term. This guide provides access to materials related to the “1896 Presidential Election” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


Sketch of William Jennings Bryan, one of the candidates for President during the 1896 Presidential Election. July 11, 1896. The Saint Paul Globe (St. Paul, MN), Image 1. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

After clinching the Republic nomination for President, William McKinley launches a new and ingenious campaign strategy of “front porch talks.” McKinley then goes on to defeat the fiery orator William Jennings Bryan in 1896. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


June 16, 1896 Republican Party Convention begins in St Louis, MO.
June 17, 1896 William McKinley receives the Republican Party nomination.
July 7, 1896 Democratic Convention begins In Chicago, Il.
July 9, 1896 William Jennings Bryan gives his famous "Cross of Gold" speech.
Aug 10, 1896 Bryan receives the nomination of the Democratic and Populist Parties.
Aug 12, 1896 Bryan receives the nomination of the Free Silver Party.
Nov 4, 1896 McKinley wins the general election