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Mark Hanna

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Mark Hanna

Marcus Alonzo Hanna (also known as Marcus A. Hanna, Mark A. Hanna and Dollar Mark) (September 24, 1837February 15, 1904) was an industrialist and Republican politician from Ohio. He served in the U.S. Senate.

Born in New Lisbon, Ohio (now Lisbon), Hanna moved with his family to Cleveland, Ohio in 1852. He served briefly in the U.S. Army during the Civil War—for which he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1895. After a brief stay at Western Reserve College, Hanna worked in his father's grocery business from 1853–1862. He later inheirited the business and expanded into the iron and coal businesses, becoming very wealthy.

Hanna made a transition into politics during the 1880s and in 1888, he managed Ohio Senator John Sherman's unsuccessful effort to gain the Republican presidential nomination. Elected Chairman of the Republican National Committee in 1896, Hanna then managed the campaign of William McKinley for President.

Hanna, who had helped McKinley win the 1891 and 1893 elections for Governor of Ohio, became a key advisor. When McKinley received the 1896 Republican nomination for president, Hanna raised an unprecedented $3.5 million for McKinley's campaign of high tariffs, high wages, and renewed prosperity, mostly from corporations who feared William Jennings Bryan's more liberal monetary policy. As McKinley had a spotless political record, Hanna became a target of newspapers and Democrats, especially William Randolph Hearst and his New York Journal.

The campaign employed 1,400 people, who concentrated a flood of pamphlets, leaflets, posters, and stump speakers on Chicago and New York City as McKinley defeated Bryan by an electoral vote of 271 to 176. At the time, it was the most expensive campaign ever in U.S. politics, with the McKinley campaign outspending Bryan's by nearly 12 to 1. Today it is considered the forerunner of the modern political campaign.

Hanna was often seen as the power behind the throne in the McKinley administration. Once elected, McKinley appointed Ohio Senator John Sherman to his Cabinet, and Hanna was elected in March of 1897 to fill the remainder of Sherman's term, and then re-elected to the subsequent term. In the Senate, Hanna sought conciliation with unions as he saw strikes as economically damaging and politically and socially divisive. As a businessman, Hanna's employees had considered him kind, reasonable, and open in his dealings with them, and he even argued that businessmen must recognize labor unions, although the Central Labor Union and Labor Congress considered his labor record unsatisfactory.

Hanna and Theodore Roosevelt had been allies when they met in 1884, but they became bitter rivals, initially due to their disagreement about the Spanish-American War. Roosevelt strongly favored war with Spain; Hanna opposed it. In 1900, Hanna opposed the tide that was pushing Roosevelt towards the vice presidency but lacked the political power to stop it. McKinley was assassinated in September 1901, propelling Roosevelt into the presidency. One of the leading powers in the conservative faction of the Republican party, Hanna was crushed when McKinley was assassinated, replaced by the far more progressive Roosevelt; Hanna had viewed him as little more than a seat filler who might draw votes during the 1900 election. Upon hearing the news, Hanna reputedly remarked that "Now that damn cowboy is president." However, Hanna and Roosevelt worked together (particularly on the Panama Canal) and although they remained personally cordial, they considered each another political enemies.

Hanna was expected to run against Roosevelt for the Republican nomination for president in the 1904 election. The rivalry was cut short by Hanna's death of typhoid fever, at the peak of his power, in February of that year. Hanna is buried in Cleveland's Lakeview Cemetery.

Hanna was the father of Ruth Hanna McCormick.

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Preceded by:
John Sherman
U.S. Senators from Ohio
18971904
Succeeded by:
Charles W. F. Dick
Preceded by:
Thomas H. Carter
Chairman of the Republican National Committee
18961904
Succeeded by:
Henry Clay Payne

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