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I Am Confident The Working Men Are With Us
Labor Relations

Marcus A. HannaThe late 1880s and early 1890s were times of economic depression. Most farmers in the western part of the country were debtors. Their creditors were the bankers in the east. When prices fell, it caused the real value of these debts to rise, which enriched the banks at the expense of the farmers. At the 1896 Republican Convention, wealthy Cleveland businessman Marcus Alonzo Hanna ensured the nomination of his friend William McKinley. As a businessman, Hanna's employees had considered him kind, reasonable, and open in his dealings with them, and he even argued that businessmen must recognize labor unions, although the Central Labor Union and Labor Congress considered his labor record unsatisfactory:

"Secretary Bausch of the Central Labor Union yesterday read to that body a letter that he had received from the Cleveland Central Labor Union in regard to the labor record of Marcus A. Hanna. The Secretary of the Cleveland Central Labor Union wrote that Mr. Hanna had wrecked the Seaman's union of the lower lake regions, that he had smashed the union of his street railway employees, and refuses to allow them to organize. Further, Mr. Hanna had assisted in destroying the mineworker's unions of Pennsylvania, and had tried to break up the carpenter's unions of Cleveland by employing non-union men on his mansion at a critical time last Spring, when the eight-hour law was being put into effect."

-New York Times, 7 September 1896

Heres what the Populist People's Party thought:

"McKinley is the pliant tool of Mark Hanna, the most vicious, carnal, and unrelenting oppressor of labor and crusher of its organizations in existence. He is a man who would stop at nothing -- not even murder if he could do it, as he has done, in an indirect way -- to keep laboring men from assuming position to defend themselves in their right to living wages and decent treatment at the hands of corporations and monopolies."

-People's Party Paper, 16 October 1896

Davenport shows Mark with his trademark suit, "labor" skull, bullwhip and foot resting on a pile of campaign funds. A tiny McKinley is attached to his watch bob, while a hungry-looking farm family stands in the background.

From 1896: A Website of Political Cartoons
Created by Rebecca Edwards and Sarah DeFeo, Vassar College
  I Am Confident The Working Men Are With Us.