Silver Republican Party

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The Silver Republican Party was a short-lived U.S. political party formed by GOP politicians who supported bimetallism, a coinage of silver along with gold as currency. Opposing the gold standard, the Silver GOP promoted inflationary monetary policy and carried a populist bent, appealing to rural western farmers who supported such measures to relieve debts and raise prices.[1]

Even prior to the party's formation, many pro-silver Republicans staunchly emphasized the issue above all else. When the Federal Elections Bill of 1890 (known as the Lodge Bill or Force bill after its sponsor, Henry Cabot Lodge, Sr.), legislation pursued to safeguard black voting rights, entered the floor of the Senate, western silver Republicans opposed it along with Southern Democrats, hoping their stance would attract the latter to backing their economic positions.[2]


Following the new admission of six western states into the Union during 1889–90, the increased influence and power of pro-silver politicians contributed to the passage of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act.[1] It was repealed several years later under the presidency of Grover Cleveland as Republicans and Bourbon Democrats voted to rid it.

The Republican Party platform of 1896 stated:[3]

We are unalterably opposed to every measure calculated to debase our currency or impair the credit of our country. We are therefore opposed to the free coinage of silver, except by international agreement with the leading commercial nations of the earth, which agreement we pledge ourselves to promote, and until such agreement can be obtained the existing gold standard must be maintained.

As a result, the pro-free silver wing of the GOP bolted from the party convention that year and formed the Silver Republican Party, which issued an official endorsement of Democrat nominee William Jennings Bryan.[4] However, a number still remained in affiliation with the national GOP.[1] Bryan ultimately lost the general election to William McKinley, although the Silver Republicans formed a strong coalition with Democrats and Populists in Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota which contributed to some election successes.[1]

In the 1900 presidential election, Silver Republicans led an effort to unite the party with the Democratic Party.[4] However, the Democrats declined to place a vice presidential nominee from the Silver GOP on their ticket.

The Silver Republican Party disbanded in 1901, with members urging supporters to join the Democratic Party.[4]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Silver Republicans. Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  2. About the Vice President | Levi Parsons Morton, 22nd Vice President (1889-1893). United States Senate. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  3. June 18, 1896. Republican Party Platform of 1896. The American Presidency Project. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Silver Republican Party. Retrieved October 3, 2021.

External links