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POPULIST PARTY

The POPULIST PARTY (also known as the People's party), espoused populist causes in Cleveland during the 1890s, including municipal ownership of utilities, better hospital and health facilities, labor representation on the police board, and improved schools. Its predecessor, the Union Labor party, organized by Dr. LOUIS B. TUCKERMAN in Oct. 1887, focused on labor and municipal reform. That year, its candidates for office in the county and state elections attracted about 2,800 votes out of about 40,000 cast, but in the 1888 city elections their candidates were far less successful. In 1891 Tuckerman reorganized the party as a Populist party, in response to the national populist movement gaining momentum at the time, but its slate of candidates did poorly. One of several local third parties, the populists believed in achieving its goals gradually within the existing political system. The party was most successful when it joined the Citizen's party in support of EDWARD S. MEYER for mayor in 1893 and received about 16% of the local vote. Two years later, it nominated Thomas Fitzsimmons for mayor, gained support from the Independent Labor party, but received only 5.5% of the vote.

In 1899 the local party led by Secretary PETER WITT campaigned on behalf of Toledo mayor Samuel R. Jones, a non-partisan candidate for Ohio governor. Jones carried Cuyahoga county by 15,036 votes and received about 12.5% of the statewide vote. The Populist party disbanded when Democrat TOM L. JOHNSON, who supported many of their reforms, was elected mayor in 1901.


Whipple, James. "Cleveland in Conflict--A Study in Urban Adolescence." (Ph.D. diss., Case Western Reserve Univ., 1951).