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Salena Zito: The Anatomy of a Wave Election

CARLISLE, Pennsylvania — It was called the political storm of the century. It would end with the largest single turnover of power in American history — and one for the ages.

It was fall of 1894. People were still feeling the effects of the Panic of 1893, which had shut down most of the economy and plunged the nation into a catastrophic recession, with every segment of the country in a world of pain. Farmers were disgusted with the cost of wheat; laborers were desperate for jobs and higher pay.

The biggest punch of all, the Pullman Strike, had caused a massive, nationwide boycott of all trains that carried Pullman passenger cars. It pitted labor against the company, the press, the federal government and President Grover Cleveland, a Democrat in the beginning half of his second nonconsecutive term in office.

When Cleveland called in the U.S. Army to quell the

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