Paul M. Ross

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




In his annual message to Congress in December 1887, President Grover Cleveland disregarded an heretofore set custom and established a precedent by devoting his whole attention to one question alone - that of the tariff. Pointing out the dangers of retaining a surplus in the Treasury, he stated that he favored a decrease in import duties as a means of reducing the accumulated surplus. The support accorded President Cleveland by the Democratic House, in framing the Mills Bill, and by the Democratic National Convention indicated the willingness of the Democrats to make the tariff the major issue of the ensuing campaign. That the Republicans were not averse to accepting the challenge is shown by the readiness with which they seized upon the issue. The gauntlet thrown down by President Cleveland was taken up by James C. Blaine, who in a London interview on the day after the delivery of the message, replied to the President's arguments in a manner that left no uncertainty as to his position. Following Blaine's pronouncement, no doubt existed as to the subject around which the campaign would be waged.

Included in

History Commons