Complete Story

HARPINE, William D.

Summer 2000, pages 73-90

Playing to the Press in McKinley's Front Porch Campaign: the Early Weeks of a Nineteenth-Century Pseudo-Event

Abstract: In the summer of 1896 William McKinley, Republican candidate for President, remained at home while his opponent, William Jennings Bryan, conducted a vigorous railroad campaign. Nonetheless, McKinley was not idle as he campaigned effectively from his home in Canton, Ohio. This analysis of McKinley's summer campaign speeches establishes, first, that McKinley's Front Porch campaign, even in its earliest weeks, consisted of a series of artificial events staged for the media, and, second, that this feature of the campaign shaped what McKinley said and how he said it, as McKinley created the impression of identification between the voters and himself.

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