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6.6: Electoral College Maps –The Heyday of Populism

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12

Source: Modern maps of the state-by-state Electoral College vote in 1892 and 1896, taken from Wikipedia. In 1892, Harrison was the Republican candidate, Cleveland was the Democrat, and Weaver was the Populist. In 1896, McKinley ran as the Republican and won. William Jennings Bryan was originally the Democratic candidate. The Populist party also endorsed Bryan, after he agreed to support their main economic issue, a dollar backed by silver rather than gold. The “Cross of Gold Speech,” excerpted above, shows Bryan’s appeal to the populists, but the issue can be confusing. To learn more, please consult a textbook.(Figure below).(Figure below).

1892 Electoral College Vote

1892 Electoral College Vote

1896 Electoral College Vote

1896 Electoral College Vote


  1. In 1892, what region of the country was most strongly Populist? Why do you think that was?
  2. In 1892, what region of the country was mostly Democratic? What region was mostly Republican?
  3. What regions of the country tended to vote Democratic in 1896? What might those regions have had in common?
  4. How did the electoral map change between 1892 and 1896? What happened to the states that had voted for Weaver’s Populist ticket in 1892? What states switched from Democratic to Republican? Which states switched in the other direction?

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