The New International Encyclopædia/Liberal Republican Party

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LIBERAL REPUBLICAN PARTY. In American history, the name given to a short-lived political party which participated in the Presidential campaign of 1872, composed largely of ‘bolters’ from the regular Republican organization. The party first appeared as a prominent political factor in Missouri in 1870, under the leadership of Carl Schurz and B. Gratz Brown, the latter of whom by a fusion of Liberal Republicans with a large element of the Democratic Party, was elected Governor. The faction here declaimed for “universal amnesty and universal enfranchisement,” a reform in the tariff, an effective civil-service system, and a cessation of “unconstitutional laws to cure kuklux disorders, irreligion, or intemperance.” As President Grant's first term drew near its close, disaffection in the Republican ranks throughout the country became increasingly pronounced, chiefly because of the President's policy of severity with regard to the Southern whites and his alleged misuse of his appointing power. In answer to a call issued by the triumphant fusionists of Missouri on January 24, 1872, a National Liberal Republican Convention met at Cincinnati on May 1st, and after much discussion, Horace Greeley was nominated for President and B. Gratz Brown for Vice-President, on a platform which, evading the tariff issue, declared for universal amnesty, the reëstablishment of civil governments throughout the South, and civil-service reform. On June 9th the Democratic convention assembled at Baltimore formally accepted the candidates and the platform of the Liberal Republicans, though a dissenting element subsequently met at Louisville and nominated Charles O'Conor for President and John Quincy Adams for Vice-President. The campaign was marked by much ill-feeling and considerable personal abuse. Greeley being especially attacked because of his affiliation with the Democrats, whom formerly, as a Republican, he had consistently opposed. In the election the fusion candidates were overwhelmingly defeated. Grant, the Republican candidate, being reëlected by an electoral vote of 286 to 63. The party, as an organization, did not survive the campaign. Among those besides Greeley and Brown who had been more or less prominently identified with the party were Charles Francis Adams, Lyman Trumbull, Carl Schurz, David Davis, Stanley Matthews, Horace White, George W. Julian, and David A. Wells.