People & Events|
Mark Hanna (1837-1904) was a Cleveland industrialist who made his fortune in coal and iron. Convinced that the welfare of big business depended on the success of the Republican Party, in the 1880s Hanna began to organize financial support for promising Republican candidates. He helped William McKinley win the Ohio governor's race in 1892 and saw him nominated as the Republican presidential candidate in 1896. Hanna raised an election fund for McKinley from wealthy individuals and corporations and orchestrated the most expensive campaign ever seen at that time, undermining opponent William Jennings Bryan's grassroots campaign with hired orators and a flood of literature, all promising continued prosperity under McKinley. After McKinley won the presidency, one of his cabinet appointments created a vacancy in the U.S. Senate to which Hanna was elected in 1897. Theodore Roosevelt feared that Hanna might oppose him for the Republican presidential nomination in 1904, but Hanna died suddenly in the early part of that year.