The election of Democrat Grover Cleveland ended the reign of the Republican party since Abraham Lincoln plunged the country into a war from which it has never recovered. The following was written postwar by Ohio Congressman Samuel “Sunset” Cox, a painful thorn in the side of Lincoln during the war.
The Political Result of the War
“On June 9, 1882, Cox delivered a ringing denunciation of the Republican party in the House of Representatives. He referred to it as “the defiled party of moral ideas and immoral deeds,” responsible for “plutocratic usurpation of . . . the federal government . . . unscrupulous fealty to corporate wealth, fast becoming the main, and only, and the all-sufficient qualification for the high offices of state.” A power behind the Republican party “has grown up within the last twenty-five years under national charters, cash subsidies, land grants . . . and the excessive profits of indirect tariff taxes” and “has now almost exclusive control of the entire floating wealth of the nation . . . and the great bulk of the fixed wealth.”
Cox asserted that the cause of the Republican excesses was “plainly the continued extravagance of the war times, when the foundations of most of the present colossal fortunes were laid in great contracts and cemented with the blood, tears and cruel taxation of the people.”
In early December, some 800 New York Democratic leaders gathered at the Manhattan Club to greet President-Elect Grover Cleveland. Cox wrote of the Democratic triumph:
“At length peace has come. Slavery, the bête noir of our politics, is no more.”
(Sunset Cox: Irrepressible Democrat. David Lindsey. Wayne State University Press, pp. 235-238)