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Notable moments in convention history

A look back at US political conventions that have encompassed a wide spectrum of ideologies.

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• 1830: The first national political convention is convened in Philadelphia by the Anti-Masonic Party.

• 1831: The shortlived National Republican Party, formed in opposition to Andrew Jackson, holds the first convention to feature a keynote speaker.

• 1832: The first Democratic National Convention meets in Baltimore and becomes a prototype for the modern political convention.

• 1844: Democrats choose James Polk over Martin Van Buren, making Polk the first dark horse ever selected at a convention. News is relayed by a new device – the telegraph.

• 1856: The first Republican National Convention is held in Philadelphia, where delegates form the outlines of today's Republican Party.

• 1860: Republicans select Abraham Lincoln as their nominee over preconvention favorite William Seward.

• 1896: William Jennings Bryan delivers his famous "cross of gold" speech at the Democratic National Convention, captivating delegates and winning the nomination at age 36.

•1912: Republicans select William Howard Taft over Teddy Roosevelt, causing Roosevelt to bolt from the party and run on the Progressive ("Bull Moose") ticket.


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