For further reading, the following primary works (written at the time) and secondary works (written by historians) are helpful. This is only a partial list--explore your library!

    The Gilded Age U.S. (Overviews)
    Electoral Politics in the 1890s
    Gender and Politics
    The 1896 Campaign
    The Candidates' Lives
    Other Figures in the Campaign
    Issues of the Day
    The South and West
    U.S. Foreign Relations
    Cartoons of the Era
    Web Links


Bryan, William Jennings, The First Battle: A Story of the Campaign of 1896 (Chicago: W. B. Conkey, 1897)

Campaign Text-Book of the National Democratic Party (Gold Democrats), (New York, National Democratic Party, 1896)

Dawes, Charles G., A Journal of the McKinley Years, ed. Bascom N. Timmons (Chicago: Lakeside Press, 1950)

Destler, Chester McArthur, American Radicalism, 1865-1901: Essays and Documents (New London, Conn.: Connecticut College, 1946)

Great Leaders and National Issues of 1896. Lives and Portraits of Our Political Leaders and the Platforms of All the Great Parties.... (Philadelphia: John C. Winston, 1896) Halstead, Murat, Life and Distinguished Services of Hon. William McKinley (Philadelphia: Edgewood Publishing, 1896)

Official Proceedings of the Eleventh Republican National Convention, St. Louis, Mo., June 16, 17, and 18, 1896 (Minneapolis: C. W. Johnson, 1896)

Platt, Thomas C., Autobiography of Thomas Collier Platt (New York: Dodge Press, 1910)

Henry B. Russell, The Lives of William McKinley and Garret A. Hobart (Hartford, Conn.: A .D. Worthington, 1896)

Tindall, George Brown, A Populist Reader: Selections from the Works of American Populist Leaders (New York: Harper and Row, 1966)

See also the wonderful primary source material in two CD-ROMs:

The Great American History Machine (College Park, Md.: Academic Software Development Group, University of Maryland, c1995): an interactive atlas with comprehensive census and electoral data (starting in 1790, with some data up to 1950)

Who Built America? by the American Social History Project, published by Voyager, 1992. Contains photographs, newspaper clippings, and a huge array of other documents on working people and economics, politics, social relations, and culture.


Bruce Levine et al, Who Built America? Working People and the Nation's Economics, Politics, Culture, and Society (New York: Pantheon, 1989; accompanies the CD-ROM listed above)

Painter, Nell Irwin, Standing at Armageddon: The United States, 1877-1919 (New York: Norton, 1987)

Trachtenberg, Alan, The Incorporation of America: Culture and Society in the Gilded Age (New York: Hill and Wang, 1982)

Wiebe, Robert H., The Search for Order, 1877-1920 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1967)


Jensen, Richard, The Winning of the Midwest: Social and Political Conflict, 1888-1896 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971)

Keller, Morton, Affairs of State: Public Life in Late Nineteenth Century America (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap/Harvard University Press, 1977)

Marcus, Robert D., Grand Old Party: Political Structure in the Gilded Age, 1880-1896 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971)

McGerr, Michael E., The Decline of Popular Politics: The American North, 1865-1928 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986)

McSeveney, Samuel T., The Politics of Depression: Political Behavior in the Northeast, 1893-1896 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1972)

Skocpol, Theda, Protecting Soldiers and Mothers: The Political Origins of Social Policy in the United States (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap/Harvard University Press, 1992)

Williams, R. Hal, Years of Decision: American Politics in the 1890s (New York: Wiley, 1978)

Baker, Paula, "The Domestication of Politics: Women and American Political Society, 1780-1920," American Historical Review 89 (1984): 620-647

Beeton, Beverly, Women Vote in the West: The Woman Suffrage Movement, 1869-1896 (New York: Garland, 1986)

Bordin, Ruth, Woman and Temperance: The Quest for Power and Liberty, 1873-1900 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1981)

Buhle, Mari Jo, Women and American Socialism, 1870-1920 (Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1981)

Edwards, Rebecca, Angels in the Machinery: Gender and American Party Politics from the Civil War to the Progressive Era (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997)

Gilmore, Glenda Elizabeth, Gender and Jim Crow: Women and the Politics of White Supremacy in North Carolina, 1896-1920 (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1996)

Kraditor, Aileen, The Ideas of the Woman Suffrage Movement, 1890-1920 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1965)

Lebsock, Suzanne, "Women and American Politics, 1880-1920," in Women, Politics, and Change, ed. Louise A. Tilly and P. Gurin (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1990)

Durden, Robert F., The Climax of Populism: The Election of 1896 (Lexington, Ky.: University of Kentucky Press, 1965)

Glad, Paul W., McKinley, Bryan, and the People (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1964)

Jones, Stanley L., The Presidential Election of 1896 (Madison: University of Wisconsin PRess, 1964)

Cherny, Robert W., A Righteous Cause: The Life of William Jennings Bryan (Glenview, Ill: Little, Brown, 1985)

Coletta, Paolo E., William Jennings Bryan (Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1969) 3 vols.

Gould, Lewis L., The Presidency of William McKinley (Lawrence, Ks.: Regents' Press of Kansas, 1980)

Koenig, Louis W., Bryan: A Political Biography of William Jennings Bryan (New York: Putnam, 1971)

Morgan, H. Wayne, William McKinley and His America (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1963)

Woodward, C. Vann, Tom Watson, Agrarian Rebel (New York: Oxford University Press, 1938)

Croly, Herbert, Marcus Alonzo Hanna: His Life and Work (New York: Macmillan, 1912)

Burton, Theodore E. John Sherman (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1908)

Griffith, Elisabeth, In Her Own Right: The Life of Elizabeth Cady Stanton (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984)

Harlan, Louis R. Booker T. Washington: The Making of a Black Leader, 1856-1901 (Vol. 1, 1972) and Booker T. Washington: The Wizard of Tuskegee, 1901-1915 (Vol. 2, 1983) (New York: Oxford University Press) Salvatore, Nick. Eugene Debs, Citizen and Socialist (Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1982)

Sklar, Kathryn Kish. Florence Kelley and the Nation's Work (New Haven, Ct.: Yale University Press, 1995)

Welch, Richard E., Jr., The Presidencies of Grover Cleveland (Lawrence, Ks.: University Press of Kansas, 1988)

Goodwyn, Lawrence, Democratic Promise: The Populist Moment in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976)

Hicks, John, The Populist Revolt (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1931)

Holmes, William, ed., American Populism (New York: Hill and Wang, 1994)

McMath, Robert C., Jr., American Populism: A Social History, 1877-1898 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1993)

Ostler, Jeffrey, Prairie Populism: The Fate of Agrarian Radicalism in Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa, 1880-1892 (Lawrence, Ks.: University Press of Kansas, 1993)


Letwin, William, Law and Economic Policy in America: The Evolution of the Sherman Antitrust Act (New York: Random House, 1965)

Nugent, Walter T. K., "Money, Politics, and Society: The Currency Question," in The Gilded Age, ed. H. Wayne Morgan, 2nd ed. (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1963)

Reitano, Joanne, The Tariff Question in the Gilded Age (University Park, Penn.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994)

Ayers, Edward L. The Promise of the New South: Life after Reconstruction (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992)

Kleppner, Paul, "Voters and Parties in the Western States, 1876-1900," Western Historical Quarterly 14 (Jan. 1983): 49-68

White, Richard, "It's Your Misfortune and None of My Own": A New History of the American West (Norman, Ok.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991)

Woodward, C. Vann, Origins of the New South, 1877-1913 (Baton Rouge, La.: Louisiana State University Press, 1951)

LaFeber, Walter, The New Empire: An Interpretation of American Expansion, 1860-1898 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1963)

Rosenberg, Emily S., Spreading the American Dream: American Economic and Cultural Expansion, 1890-1945 (New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1982)

Fischer, Roger A., Them Damned Pictures: Explorations in American Political Cartoons Art (North Haven, CT: Shoe String Press/Archon, 1996)

Nevins, Allan, and Frank Weitenkampf, A Century of Political Cartoons: Caricature in the United States from 1800 to 1900 (New York: Scribners, 1944)

(For additional links on specific subjects, see the theme pages on this site.) The McKinley Era, a project of Ohio State University, includes information on William McKinley and beautiful cartoons by Frank Beard from the Ram's Horn in the late 1890s. Thye Douglass Archives of American Public Address includes the full text of Bryan's "cross of gold" speech and many other examples of political rhetoric from different eras of U.S. history.

The Library of Congress's American Memory site includes every kind of document imaginable: maps, pamphlets, letters, books, speeches, and an enormous collection of photographs.

The Making of America site at the University of Michigan is an enormous archive of journals and books from the era. The link here is to the journal-browsing page.

Kathryn Sklar, Thomas Dublin, and their students have created a wonderful series of projects at SUNY Binghamton, entitled Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1830-1930.

The University of North Carolina's Documenting the American South site contains numerous primary sources written by Southern Americans, black and white, men and women.

Duke University's Scriptorum contains a number of interesting exhibits, including 'America Votes: Presidential Campaign Memorabilia,' and 'The Emergence of Advertising in America,1850-1920.' For a different use of the web and political cartoons in teaching history, see the Punch site created by my Vassar colleague Tony Wohl.


© 2000, Rebecca Edwards, Vassar College