Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Interesting Facts about Historic U.S. Elections

Elections belong to the people. It's their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters. - Abraham Lincoln

The worst campaign slogan in history belongs to Al Smith, who was against prohibition. To show his support for the creation, distribution, and sale of alcohol, he advertised: “Vote for Al Smith and he’ll make your wet dreams come true.”

Al Smith
The only "clean" election in American history was most likely the first one in 1789, when George Washington ran unopposed. Even then, Alexander Hamilton was trying to pilfer votes away from the potential vice president, John Adams.

John Adams

It wasn’t until 1856 that Congress removed property ownership as a requirement to vote in elections.
U.S. Presidents choose which Bible or books they want to use on inauguration day. President Obama chose two Bibles: the Lincoln Bible, and to rest underneath it, Martin Luther King Jr.’s Bible.

Barack Obama

The Lincoln Bible

During the 1872 election, presidential incumbent Ulysses S. Grant ran against a corpse. His opponent, Horace Greeley, died before the election was finalized. Grant won the election.

Ulysses S. Grant

In 1870, Congress passed the 15th Amendment, which granted the right to vote to African- Americans and other nonwhite men. However, an African-American’s right to vote was often denied in the South and parts of the North until the 1960's.
In 1872, Susan B. Anthony was arrested for attempting to vote in the presidential election. At the same time, Sojourner Truth, a former slave and advocate for justice demanded a ballot in Michigan, but she was turned away. American women of all races finally won the right to vote in 1920.

Susan B. Anthony

Sojourner Truth

Congress gave Native Americans the right to vote in presidential elections in 1924; however, some states banned them from voting until the 1940's.
George Washington is the only U.S. president in history to win 100% of the Electoral College vote. This is mainly because organized parties weren’t yet formed, and he ran unopposed.

George Washington

Actress Roseanne Barr once attempted to run for president and got as far as filing with the Federal Election Commission under the “Green Tea Party Ticket.”

Roseanne Barr

George Washington spent his entire campaign budget on 160 gallons of liquor to serve to potential voters.
The Constitution does not state when Election Day should be, which meant that in the early 1800's, people could vote from April to December.
In 1845, Congress decided that voting day would be the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, which was after the fall harvest and before winter conditions made travel too difficult.
Andrew Jackson’s inauguration party was so wild that Jackson sneeked out of the White House and spent the night at a hotel. Finally, servants dragged tubs of punch out on the lawn to lure out the crowds.

Andrew Jackson

Norman Thomas of the Socialist Party ran for president more times than anyone in history. He ran for 6 times but was never elected.

Eugene V. Debs
George Washington was reluctant to become president and noted to his future secretary of war, Henry Knox, that becoming president felt like he was going to “the place of his execution".
Jehovah Witnesses don’t vote in presidential elections.
During the 1776 presidential campaign, Thomas Jefferson secretly hired a writer named James Callender to attack his opponent, John Adams, in print. Callender called Adams a “hermaphroditical character” who neither had the “force of a man” or the “gentleness of a woman.” Callender was later jailed for insurrection.

Thomas Jefferson
Democrats use a donkey as their party symbol thanks to Andrew Jackson. When his critics called him a “jackass” because of his populist views, he embraced the image, even using it alongside his slogan, “Let the people rule.”

Until 1937, presidents weren’t sworn in until March 4 because it took so long to count and report ballots. In light of better technology, the 20th amendment moved inauguration day to noon on January 20th.
John Adams complained that the only reason George Washington was “chosen for everything,” including president, was because “he was taller than anyone else in the room.”
In 1968, President Nixon wanted a running mate who wouldn’t compete with him, so he picked an unknown politician named Spirow Agnew. When a reporter asked people about Spirow Agnew, one person asked, “Is that a disease?” Another person suggested he was a type of an egg.

Spirow Agnew

When Democrat Stephen A. Douglas called Abraham Lincoln “two-faced” during an election year, Lincoln replied, “If I had another face, do you think I would wear this one?”

Stephen A. Douglas
The first election to use a voting machine was in 1892. Though it was actually invented earlier, candidates initially opposed the idea because it eliminated the wheeling and dealing for votes over the phone.
During the 1920 presidential election, a candidate from a third party, Eugene V. Debs, ran his presidential campaign from prison. He was in jail for opposing World War I.  He ultimately won 3% of the popular vote.
George Washington gave the shortest inauguration speech at 135 words. William Henry Harrison’s was the longest, at 8,445 words. He spoke for over two hours in a heavy snowstorm, which made him catch a cold and ultimately die from pneumonia one month later.
American astronauts on the International Space Station can vote in elections from orbit by secure email.
The United States is ranked 139th out of 172 countries in voter participation.
The Anti-Masonic party is known as the first “third party “ in the United States. They held the first national convention in 1832 in a saloon.
Before the 1804, the presidential candidate who received the second highest electoral votes became vice-president.
The oldest presidential candidate to be elected is Ronald Reagan at 69 years old. The youngest is John F. Kennedy at age 34.

Ronald Reagan

John F. Kennedy

The tallest U.S. President was Abraham Lincoln (5 feet, 4 inches). The shortest U.S. president was James Madison (5 feet, 4 inches).

Abraham Lincoln

James Madison

In the 1984 presidential election, Ronald Reagan received both the highest number of popular votes and the highest number of electoral votes in the history of U.S. presidential elections. These numbers have yet to be surpassed by another presidential candidate.
Grover Cleveland is the only candidate ever to be elected to one term, defeated for a second term, and then elected again four years later. Thus, he became both the 22nd president and the 24th president.

John Quincy Adams is the only president to have lost both the popular vote and electoral vote and still become president.

John Quincy Adams
The ultimate “whoops” moment in a U.S. presidential election happened when the Chicago Daily Tribune mistakenly declared that Dewey beat  Harry Truman in 1946.

The 1800 election year was so heated that vice president Aaron Burr ended up killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel.

Aaron Burr

Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton' Gravestone, Trinity Church, New York City

The first U.S. presidential election was in 1789. Only white men who owned property could vote, a stipulation that prohibited 94% of the population from casting a ballot.
The word “election” is from the Latin eligere, which means, “to pick out, select” and is related to the world “lecture".
It is illegal to drink alcohol in Kentucky and South Carolina on election day. But, unless you were drunk, how would anyone ever know?
Few other parts of the Constitution have been so criticized as the Electoral College because it can deny the will of the people. And, it has in four elections.
During the John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson election year, American politics sounds more like bathroom graffiti than political commentary.  For example, Jackson called John Quincy a pimp, and Quincy called Jackson's wife a slut and his mother a prostitute.
A U.S. presidential candidate is required to be at least 35 years old, a permanent US resident for at least 14 years and considered a natural US born citizen.
George Washington argued that a presidential candidate should not appear too eager to win the presidency or actively seek it. Rather, he said "The office should seek the man." He considered active campaigning undignified, even vulgar.
Barack Obama was the 17th president to be elected to at least two terms. Thirteen previous presidents were elected and served at least two terms. Three additional presidents were elected to two terms, but did not complete the second term due to assignations and a resignation. They were Abraham Lincoln (assassinated), William McKinley (assassinated) and Richard Nixon (resigned).
The first woman to run for U.S. President was Victoria Woodhull in 1872, nearly 50 years before the 19th Amendment allowed women to vote in presidential elections. Her running mate, Frederick Douglass, was the first African-American ever nominated for Vice President.

Victoria Woodhull

Fredrick Douglass

Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president an astonishing four terms before the 22nd Amendment set term limits.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Over 200 women have run for President of the United States; however, this list includes nominees of many minor parties and candidates who ran for president before women won the right to vote in 1920.

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