Both in 1876 and 1884, after his failure to receive the nomination for the presidency, he was nominated by the Democratic National Convention for vice-president, his nomination in each of these conventions being made partly, it seems, with the hope of gaining "greenback" votes - Hendricks had opposed the immediate resumption of specie payments.
His good sense was strong, as well as his sense of justice, and these qualities stood him in good service as president, especially in his triumphant fight against the greenback monster.
Blaine, who had previously opposed greenback inflation now resisted depreciated silver coinage.
As presidential nominee of the Greenback and Anti-Monopolist parties, he polled 175,370 votes in 1884, when he had bitterly opposed the nomination by the Democratic party of Grover Cleveland, to defeat whom he tried to "throw" his own votes in Massachusetts and New York to the Republican candidate.
Smith (" National " or " Greenback "), 41,371; Alonzo Garcelon (1813-1906) (Democratic), 28,218; as no candidate received a majority of the votes, the election was left to the legislature.
He was a member of the committee on finance throughout his service in the Senate, and his first speech in that body was a defence of the free coinage of silver and a plea for the preservation of the full legal tender value of greenback currency, though in 1893 he voted to repeal the silver purchase clause of the Sherman Act.
Though he had been a hard-money Democrat, he joined the Greenback party after the Civil War, and in 1876 was its candidate for the presidency, but received only 81,740 out of the 8,412,833 votes cast.
His administration of the department, in circumstances of great difficulty arising out of the "greenback" agitation and the adverse political complexion of Congress, won him high distinction as a financier.
In 1876 the Greenback Party, the successor in Illinois of the Independent Reform Party, secured a strong following; although its candidate for governor was endorsed by the Democrats, the Republicans regained control of the state administration.
He was district - attorney for the second Judicial District of Iowa in1866-1870and an assessor of internal revenue in Iowa in 1863-1873; and was a representative in Congress in1879-1881and in 1885-1889, being elected by a Greenback-Democratic fusion.
In 1880 he was the candidate of the Greenback party for president and received a popular vote of 308,578; and in 1892 he was the candidate of the People's party, and received 22 electoral votes and a popular vote of 1,041,021.
After leaving Congress he became one of the earliest champions of the "Ohio idea" (which he is said to have originated), demanding that the government should pay the principal of its 5-20-year 6% bonds in the "greenback" currency instead of in coin.
In 1871 he was a defeated candidate for governor of Massachusetts, and also in 1879 when he ran on the Democratic and Greenback tickets, but in 1882 he was elected by the Democrats who got no other state offices.
Of the Greenback party in 1882.