Garret Augustus Hobart (June 3, 1844 – November 21, 1899) was
the 24th Vice President of the United States, serving from 1897 until
his death in 1899. He was the sixth American vice president to die in
Hobart was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, on the Jersey Shore, and
grew up in nearby Marlboro. After attending Rutgers College, Hobart
read law with prominent Paterson attorney Socrates Tuttle. The two
studied together, and Hobart married Tuttle's daughter Jennie.
Although he rarely set foot in a courtroom, Hobart became wealthy as a
Hobart served in local governmental positions, and then successfully
ran for office as a Republican, serving in both the New Jersey General
Assembly and the New Jersey Senate. He became Speaker of the first,
and president of the latter. Hobart was a longtime party official, and
New Jersey delegates went to the 1896 Republican National Convention
determined to nominate the popular lawyer for vice president. Hobart's
political views were similar to those of McKinley, who was the
presumptive Republican presidential candidate. With New Jersey a key
state in the upcoming election, McKinley and his close adviser, future
senator Mark Hanna, decided to have the convention select Hobart. The
vice-presidential candidate emulated his running mate with a front
porch campaign, though spending much time at the campaign's New York
City office. McKinley and Hobart were elected.
As vice president, Hobart proved a popular figure in Washington and
was a close adviser to McKinley. Hobart's tact and good humor were
valuable to the President, as in mid-1899 when Secretary of War
1 Early life
3.1 Selection as candidate 3.2 Campaign
4 Vice President (1897–1899)
4.1 Presidential advisor 4.2 "Assistant President" 4.3 Illness and death
5 Legacy 6 Electoral history 7 References 8 External links
Garret Augustus Hobart was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, to Addison
Willard Hobart and the former Sophia Vanderveer. Addison Hobart
descended from the early colonial settlers of New England; many
Hobarts served as pastors. Addison Hobart came to New Jersey to teach
at a school in
Bradevelt, New Jersey
After graduation from Rutgers, Hobart worked briefly as a teacher to
repay loans. Although Hobart was young and in good health, he did
not serve in the Union Army. Addison Hobart's childhood friend,
lawyer Socrates Tuttle, offered to take Garret into his office to read
law. Tuttle was a prominent Passaic County lawyer who had served in
the legislature. Hobart supported himself during his time of study in
Paterson by working as a bank clerk; he later became director of the
same bank. Hobart was admitted to the bar as an attorney in 1866; he
became a counsellor-at-law in 1871 and was made a master in chancery
In addition to learning law from Tuttle, Hobart fell in love with his
Jennie Tuttle Hobart
Hobart at his desk.
Hobart said of his involvement in public affairs, "I make politics my
recreation." He devoted most of his time to a law practice which
according to Hobart's legislative biography was highly profitable.
He was rarely seen in a courtroom; his official biography for the 1896
campaign admitted that "he has actually appeared in court a smaller
number of times than, perhaps, any lawyer in Passaic County".
Hobart's real work was in advising corporations how to accomplish
their aims, yet remain within the law. He also had a lucrative
business acting as court-appointed receiver of bankrupt railroads.
Hobart reorganized them, and restored them to fiscal health. He often
invested heavily in them; his success made him wealthy. In addition to
the railroads for which he acted as receiver, he served as president
of the Paterson Railway Company, which ran the city's streetcars, and
as a board member for other railroads.
One reason for Hobart's success in both the private and public sectors
was his genial personality. He worked well with others, and was noted
for tact and charm. Senator Mark Hatfield, in his book on American
vice presidents, suggests that these qualities would have made Hobart
successful in Washington had he run for Congress. Hatfield states that
the reason why Hobart chose not to move from state to national
politics before 1896 was a reluctance to leave a comfortable life and
successful law practice in Paterson. Instead, Hobart continued to
involve himself in party politics; he was widely regarded as Northern
New Jersey's most influential Republican. Beginning in 1876, he was a
delegate to every
Republican National Convention
Jennie Tuttle Hobart
Jennie Hobart, in her memoirs, traced her suspicions that her husband
might be a vice-presidential contender to a lunch she had with him at
the Waldorf Hotel in New York in March 1895. During the meal,
industrialist and future senator
On the other hand, the adjoining state of New Jersey submitted an eligible candidate in Mr. Garret A. Hobart, who had done much to strengthen the Republican party in his own neighborhood. Mr. Hobart was well known to Mr. Hanna, and in all probability his nomination had been scheduled for some time. It was practically announced early in June. He was a lawyer and a business man with an exclusively local reputation; and if he did little to strengthen the ticket he did nothing to weaken it.
Not for himself, but for our state; not for his ambition, but to give to the Nation the highest type of public official do we come to this convention, by the command of our state and in the name of the Republican Party of New Jersey—unconquered and unconquerable, undivided and indivisible—with our united voices speaking for all that counts for good citizenship in our state, and nominate to you for the office of Vice-President of the Republic, Garret A. Hobart of New Jersey.
John Franklin Fort
McKinley was nominated for president on the first ballot. Hobart described his subsequent first-ballot nomination for vice president as a tribute from his friends, but Hatfield noted, "it came equally as a tribute from [Hanna, who] wanted a ticket to satisfy the business interests of America, and Hobart, a corporate lawyer, fit that requirement perfectly". Although a Hobart nomination had been talked about at least since Griggs' victory the previous November, Hobart expressed reluctance in a letter to his wife from the convention: "It looks to me I will be nominated for Vice-President whether I want it or not, and as I get nearer to the point where I may, I am dismayed at the thought ... If I want a nomination, everything is going my way. But when I realize all that it means in work, worry, and loss of home and bliss, I am overcome, so overcome I am simply miserable." Despite Hobart's expressed hesitation, he was welcomed home by a crowd of 15,000 at the Paterson Armory. City officials, feeling they had insufficient fireworks to properly honor Hobart, obtained more from New York City. According to historian R. Hal Williams, the Republicans left St. Louis in June with "a popular, experienced [presidential] candidate, a respected vice-presidential nominee, and an attractive platform". Many Republicans were convinced the election would be fought over the issue of tariffs, and they anticipated an easy victory. On June 30, 1896, Hobart journeyed by train to Canton, where he was met at the station by his running mate. McKinley drove Hobart to the Ohioan's home, where Hobart followed McKinley in speaking to a delegation which had arrived to greet the presidential candidate. Hobart only remained in Canton a few hours before returning east. According to Magie, Hobart made the trip "to pay his respects to the head of the ticket and to consult with him upon important matters". McKinley biographer Margaret Leech recorded that the two men were friends almost as soon as they met. Campaign For a fuller explanation of the currency question in 1896, see Cross of Gold speech § Background.
"Pioneer Cleveland": Puck magazine cartoon showing the Republicans
following the path of the gold standard which President Grover
Cleveland (right) has blazed. Hobart, in black coat just left of
center, wears a campaign ribbon with his name on it, and walks between
McKinley and former president
Panic of 1893
Film of the 1897 inauguration with later audio commentary. Hobart is shown, and commented on briefly, beginning at 0:38 mark.
Hobart spent much of the four months between election and inauguration
reading about the vice presidency, preparing for the move, and winding
down some business affairs. He did not, however, resign from the
boards of corporations which would not have business before the
federal government. "It would be highly ridiculous for me to resign
from the different companies in which I am officer and a stockholder
whose interests are not in the least affected, or likely to be, by my
position as Vice President." On March 2, 1897 the Hobarts left
Paterson to travel to Washington by special train. On March 4,
McKinley (left) and Hobart, photographed in Long Branch, New Jersey during the summer of 1899
The President and Vice President were already friends from the
campaign; after the inauguration, a close relationship grew between
the two men, and their wives. The First Lady, Ida McKinley, had health
issues, and could not stand the strain of the required official
entertaining. Jennie Hobart often substituted for the First Lady at
receptions and other events, and also was a close companion, visiting
her daily. The Hobarts and McKinleys visited each other's home without
formality; according to Jennie Hobart, writing in 1930, "it was an
intimate friendliness that no Vice President and his wife, before or
since, have had the privilege of sharing with their chief
administrator." The Hobarts often entertained at their house,
which was useful to McKinley, who could attend and meet informally
with congressmen without placing strain on his wife with a White House
function. McKinley, who had become insolvent while governor of Ohio,
turned over a portion of his presidential salary to Hobart to
The vice president had in recent administrations been considered a
relatively low-level political functionary, whose activities were
generally limited to the constitutional function of presiding over the
Senate. Hobart, however, became a close adviser to McKinley and his
Cabinet members, although he was not called upon to attend Cabinet
meetings. Reporter Arthur Wallace Dunn wrote of Hobart in 1922, "for
the first time in my recollection, and the last for that matter, the
Vice President was recognized as somebody, as a part of the
Administration, and as a part of the body over which he presided".
Through late 1897 and early 1898, many Americans called for the United
States to intervene in Cuba, then a Spanish colony revolting against
the mother country. These calls greatly increased in February 1898,
when the American battleship
Vice President Hobart
Hobart was constant in his attendance at the Senate; one onlooker
called him a "chronic audience". Vice President Hobart only cast
his tie-breaking vote once, using it to defeat an amendment which
would have promised self-government to the Philippines, one of the
possessions which the United States had taken from Spain after the
war. Hobart was instrumental in securing the ratification of the
Treaty of Paris, which ended the war; according to McKinley biographer
H. Wayne Morgan, Hobart was "almost the president's alter ego,
[turning] every screw with his legendary politeness".
One post which Hobart refused to relinquish upon his inauguration was
his position as one of three Joint Traffic Association (JTA) arbiters.
The association was a group of railroads which sought to coordinate
rates; if two railroads applied rates in different ways, the matter
was settled by Hobart and two other arbiters. Hobart heard appeals
while vice president. An October 1897 Supreme Court decision
signaled that the JTA was likely to be found in violation of the
Sherman Anti-Trust Act
Mausoleum of Garret and Jennie Hobart, Cedar Lawn Cemetery, Paterson. Erected 1902.
Despite his vice president's ill health, McKinley called upon him to
break the news to Secretary of War
Hobart significantly expanded the powers of the vice presidency, becoming a presidential adviser, and taking a leadership role as president of the Senate. Between his advisory and leadership roles, Hobart was perhaps the most influential vice president since Martin Van Buren. Although Magie, writing in 1910, stated that Hobart's death "fixed his memory at the height of his fame", the former vice president is today little remembered. According to Hatfield, he is best known for his death, clearing the way for the ascent of New York Governor Theodore Roosevelt, who took Hobart's place on the Republican ticket in 1900 and succeeded as president after McKinley's assassination in 1901. His nephew, George S. Hobart, served as Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly. A statue of Hobart, erected in 1903, stands outside Paterson's city hall. The communities of Hobart, Oklahoma, and Hobart, Washington, are named after the former vice president. Connolly finds Hobart to be very much a man of his times:
The public increasingly identified Republicans with the union of big business, big money, and big government, a union that ignited a Progressive reaction after 1900. Vice President Garret A. Hobart directed that union as lawyer, business receiver and director, and New Jersey Republican. He represented everything Progressives hated: a railroad advocate when railroads became America's most mistrusted industry, a corporate attorney who facilitated the agglomeration of capital when the public revolted against monopolies and trusts, a financial operator who used his political insight to capture lucrative business opportunities, and a national leader who moved easily between the worlds of political pull and economic power. As much as Hanna or any Gilded Age business-politician, Hobart symbolized the era.
Election Political result Candidate Party Votes % ±%
New Jersey General Assembly Passaic County, Third District November 5, 1872.
Garret Hobart Republican 1,787 65.03
? Oakley Democratic 961 34.97
New Jersey General Assembly Passaic County, Third District November 4, 1873.
Garret Hobart* Republican 1,490 59.29
Gerrit Planten Democratic 1,023 40.71
New Jersey Senate Passaic County November 7, 1876
Republican gain from Democratic
Garret Hobart Republican 5,912 54.16
Charles Inglis Democratic 5,022 45.84
New Jersey Senate Passaic County November 4, 1879
Garret Hobart* Republican 5,546 59.54
Garret A. Hopper Democratic 3,647 39.15
? Wan Greenback 122 1.31
United States Senate
John R. McPherson* Democratic 43 53.09
Garret Hobart Republican 36 44.44
George C. Ludlow Democratic 2 2.47
United States presidential election, 1896 Electoral College balloting for vice president. Popular vote November 3, 1896 in most states. The Democrats and People's Party (or Populists) both nominated William Jennings Bryan for president but the two parties chose different vice presidential candidates. Hobart's presidential running mate was William McKinley, who was also elected with 271 electoral votes. Candidates required 224 electoral votes for a majority. For the popular vote, see United States presidential election, 1896.
Republican gain from Democratic
Garret Hobart Republican 271 60.63
Arthur Sewall Democratic 149 33.33
Thomas E. Watson Populist Party 27 6.04
* Incumbent ? First name not ascertained References
McKinley/Hobart campaign poster
^ Magie, pp. 6–9. ^ Magie, pp. 7–8. ^ Magie, p. 1. ^ Magie, p. 14. ^ Hatfield, p. 289. ^ Asbury Park Press, Feb 9, 1914, Page 4 ^ Magie, pp. 14–18. ^ a b c Miller Center, "Hobart". ^ Connolly, pp. 21–22. ^ Magie, pp. 20–23. ^ Hobart, p. 4. ^ Hatfield, pp. 289–290. ^ Magie, p. 26. ^ Connolly, p. 2. ^ a b The New York Times, June 10, 1902. ^ a b c d e Connolly, p. 22. ^ Magie, p. 29. ^ a b State of New Jersey, Manual of the Legislature. ^ Magie, pp. 29–30. ^ Magie, pp. 42–43. ^ a b c Connolly, p. 23. ^ a b c Hatfield, p. 290. ^ Magie, p. 50. ^ Connolly, pp. 22–23. ^ Hobart, p. 5. ^ Connolly, pp. 25–26. ^ Croly, p. 180. ^ Jones, pp. 175–176. ^ Croly, p. 191. ^ Law, p. 400. ^ a b c d Connolly, p. 27. ^ Williams, p. 65. ^ Williams, pp. 65–66. ^ Smith, pp. 31–35. ^ Magie, p. 113. ^ Leech, p. 68. ^ Williams, pp. 35–39. ^ Rhodes, pp. 13–16. ^ Horner, pp. 179–181. ^ Magie, p. 104. ^ Connolly, pp. 27–28. ^ Magie, p. 112. ^ Leech, p. 117. ^ Hobart, p. 15. ^ Hobart, p. 13. ^ Connolly, p. 29. ^ Hobart, pp. 13–15. ^ a b Hatfield, p. 291. ^ Hatfield, pp. 291–292. ^ Connolly, pp. 28–29. ^ a b Connolly, p. 31. ^ Connolly, p. 30. ^ Morgan, p. 320. ^ Connolly, pp. 23, 27–28. ^ Connolly, p. 32. ^ a b Connolly, pp. 33–38. ^ Connolly, p. 33. ^ Connolly, pp. 33–34. ^ a b Gould, pp. 175–176. ^ Leech, p. 376. ^ a b c Hatfield, p. 292. ^ Magie, p. 224. ^ Magie, pp. 226–241. ^ Matawan Journal May 16, 1901 - Page 4, column 1 ^ Witcover, Jules (2014). The American Vice Presidency. Smithsonian Books. p. 227. ^ Magie, p. 263. ^ Encyclopedia of Oklahoma, "Hobart". ^ Connolly, p. 39.
Connolly, Michael J. (2010). "'I Make Politics My Recreation': Vice
President Garret A. Hobart and Nineteenth Century Republican Business
Politics". New Jersey History. Newark, N.J.: New Jersey Historical
Society. 125 (1): 20–39.
Croly, Herbert (1912). Marcus Alonzo Hanna: His Life and Work. New
York: The Macmillan Company. OCLC 715683. Retrieved October 28,
Gould, Lewis L. (1980). The Presidency of William McKinley. American
Presidency. Lawrence, Kan.: University Press of Kansas.
Hatfield, Mark O. (1997). Vice Presidents of the United States,
1789–1993 (PDF). Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing
Office. ISBN 978-0-7567-0968-6.
Hobart, Jennie (1930). Memories. Mount Vernon, N.Y.: William Edwin
Rudge. OCLC 4428978.
Horner, William T. (2010). Ohio's Kingmaker: Mark Hanna, Man and Myth.
Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.
Jones, Stanley L. (1964). The Presidential Election of 1896. Madison,
Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press. OCLC 445683.
Law, Robert O. (1896). The Parties and the Men; or, Political Issues
of 1896. unknown. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
Leech, Margaret (1959). In the Days of McKinley. New York: Harper and
Brothers. OCLC 456809.
Magie, David (1910). Life of Garret Augustus Hobart. New York: G. P.
Putnam and Sons. Retrieved November 22, 2011.
Morgan, H. Wayne (2003).
David, Paul T. (November 1967). "The Vice Presidency: Its Institutional Evolution and Contemporary Status". The Journal of Politics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 29 (4): 721–748. doi:10.2307/2128760. JSTOR 2128760. "Garret A. Hobart (1897–1899)". American President: A Reference Resource. Charlottesville, Va.: Miller Center (University of Virginia). 2011. Archived from the original on August 19, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2011. "Hobert's body entombed". The New York Times. June 10, 1902. p. 2. Retrieved December 11, 2011. "Hobart". Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture. Oklahoma Historical Society. Archived from the original on July 11, 2013. Retrieved January 19, 2012. Smith, Joseph P. (1896). McKinley, the People's Choice. Canton, Ohio: The Repository Press. Retrieved November 28, 2011. State of New Jersey (1874). Manual of the Legislature. Morristown, N.J.: F. L. Lundy. p. 87. Retrieved November 26, 2011.
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Other 1896 elections: House Senate
WorldCat Identities VIAF: 31007858 LCCN: n86001705 US Congress: H000660 SN