WHEN the Republican Party decided to hold its national convention in Cleveland back in July 2014 no one dreamed that Donald Trump would be the party’s presidential nominee. Yet the city and the man are oddly suited. It is hard to think of a city that better illustrates Mr Trump’s campaign theme of making America great again. For Cleveland is a city that has clearly fallen from greatness. It is also hard to think of a city that better illustrates the fears of Mr Trump’s critics. For the politics of anger and resentment have done nothing but hasten Cleveland’s decline.

Cleveland was the Silicon Valley of the second industrial revolution. John D. Rockefeller founded Standard Oil Company there in 1870. Steel barons built mills along the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie, drawn both by the supply of iron ore and by excellent transport links to the east coast. Immigrants came in their thousands, many from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Charles Brush pioneered electric lighting there; Sidney Short and fellow inventors came out with electric street cars. By 1900 Cleveland was so successful, leading in patent registration and with dozens of...Continue reading