Abraham Lincoln

Presidents Who Had More Than One Vice President While In Office, And Two Presidents Who Shared A Vice President With Another President

America has had 43 Presidents, with Grover Cleveland having two non consecutive terms in office, being the 22nd and 24th Presidents, therefore making Barack Obama President Number 44.

At the same time, we have had 47 Vice Presidents, with two serving under two Presidents, and a total of nine Presidents who had more than one Vice President while in office.

George Clinton served as the second Vice President under Thomas Jefferson and the first term Vice President under James Madison.

John C. Calhoun served as the Vice President under John Quincy Adams and the first term Vice President under Adams’ successor in the Presidency, Andrew Jackson.

Thomas Jefferson had two Vice Presidents, Aaron Burr and George Clinton.

James Madison had two Vice Presidents, George Clinton and Elbridge Gerry.

Andrew Jackson had two Vice Presidents, John C. Calhoun and Martin Van Buren.

Abraham Lincoln had two Vice Presidents, Hannibal Hamlin and Andrew Johnson.

Ulysses S. Grant had two Vice Presidents, Schuyler Colfax and Henry Wilson.

Grover Cleveland had two Vice Presidents, Thomas A. Hendricks, and Adlai Stevenson I.

William McKinley had two Vice Presidents, Garret Hobart and Theodore Roosevelt.

Franklin D. Roosevelt had three Vice Presidents in his four terms of office—John Nance Garner, Henry A. Wallace, and Harry S. Truman.

Finally, Richard Nixon had two Vice Presidents, Spiro T. Agnew and Gerald R. Ford.

Happy 107th Birthday, President Lyndon B. Johnson!

107 years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson was born, destined to have a career that would change the lives of more Americans than any other President, including Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Many will remind us of the disastrous Vietnam War, which LBJ waged, and which forced him out of office, giving up a chance to be only the second President to serve more than eight years, the only one doing so being FDR!

Many will point out that LBJ is accused of being involved in the assassination plot against John F. Kennedy, well spread by several authors, but still seen as highly speculative.

Many will tell us of the statements that LBJ was possibly the most corrupt President in American history, and the one who enriched his own fortune more than any other, without any positive proof of their allegations.

Many will look to find other chinks in the armor of the 36th President, and certainly, LBJ would be the first to declare his own imperfections, including his tendency to use racist Southern terms for African Americans, common in Dixie in his lifetime.

But even with whatever shortcomings there were, and whatever mostly unprovable accusations that are lodged against him, there is certainly another LBJ–the man who used the powers of his office to better the lives of more Americans—-the elderly, the sick, the poor, the uneducated, the ethnic minorities, deprived whites, women—-than any President before him, and unmatched by any President since his time.

The Great Society did so much good, much of it still with us 50 years later, a goal that LBJ had, to match and surpass his “idol”, FDR, and his New Deal programs of 30 years earlier.

Poverty was cut dramatically in the time of LBJ; more people had a chance to get an education than ever before; Medicare and Medicaid came into being, providing a “safety net” added to the Social Security programs of FDR; Civil Rights laws finally fulfilled the purpose of what Abraham Lincoln had promoted a century earlier; the environment, consumer protection, transportation and urban affairs improvement became the priority of the federal government; public radio and television offered enlightenment and still do; and we saw the beginnings of opportunity for top positions in the federal government for ethnic minorities who had never played a role in government affairs before.

So despite obvious faults and shortcomings, Happy 107th Birthday, Mr. President!

“Non Politicians”–Presidential Winners And A Few Presidential Nominees

With three Republican Presidential candidates for 2016 being “non politicians”, people who have never served in a government position on the city, state or national level, the issue arises: have there been any other such candidates in the past?

It turns out that we have had several military generals who never served in a civilian position, that could qualify as “non politicians”.

This includes the following:

Zachary Taylor 1848 (Mexican War)

Winfield Scott 1852 (Mexican War)

George McClellan 1864 (Civil War)

Ulysses S. Grant 1868, 1872 (Civil War)

Winfield Scott Hancock 1880 (Civil War)

Taylor and Grant were elected, while Scott, McClellan, and Hancock were defeated in their attempts to become President.

McClellan did serve as Governor of New Jersey from 1878-1881, AFTER running for President against Abraham Lincoln.  But Taylor, Scott, Grant and Hancock never ran for public office.

Additionally, Horace Greeley, the New York Tribune publisher, ran for President in 1872, as the candidate of the Democratic Party and the breakaway group in the Republican Party opposed to Grant’s reelection, known as the “Liberal Republicans”.  He served very briefly as an appointed member of the House of Representatives, but not by vote of the people, but rather a choice of Whig Party leaders to fill a short term replacement before the election for the next term in Congress.  He served a total of only three months from December 1848 to March 1849, and did not run for the New York City seat.  Technically, one could say he had that political experience, but so little in time, that he could be seen as basically a “non politician” when he ran for President 24 years later, although being the editor of the New York Tribune was certainly “political” in nature.

Then we have Wall Street industrialist and businessman Wendell Willkie, who ran against Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940, after stirring the Republican National Convention and overcoming much better known Presidential candidates, but while running a good race, he lost, and then supported the World War II effort and cooperated with FDR until Willkie died in late 1944.

And finally, we have billionaire Ross Perot, who ran for President as an independent in 1992 and as the Reform Party candidate in 1996.

So only Zachary Taylor and Ulysses S. Grant were “non politicians” who were elected President.

The odds of Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, or Dr. Benjamin Carson being elected President in 2016, therefore, are astronomical!

Three Quirks Of Presidential Election History: 1872, 1912, 1940

We are now fully in Presidential election season, with constant focus on the candidates and the issues.

But when one looks back to Presidential election history, one discovers so called “quirks” in the 1872, 1912, and particularly the 1940 presidential election cycles.

In 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant, seeking a second term, faced Democratic and “Liberal Republican” Presidential nominee Horace Greeley, the editor of the famous New York Tribune newspaper, which had had such a dramatic effect on the issue of slavery and the evolution of the Republican Party. Greeley had also promoted Abraham Lincoln’s nomination in 1860.

Greeley, who was quirky in his personal life, seen by many as an “oddball”, became the candidate of so called “Liberal Republicans” who did not like the policies and actions of the Grant Presidency.

Of course, Grant defeated him, but only 24 days later, before the Electoral College could meet and cast its official votes, Greeley died, marking the only time that a Presidential candidate died during or after an election campaign, but before the inauguration. To top off the tragedy, Greeley’s wife had died a week before the election, and therefore, Greeley died only 30 days after his wife had passed away. Imagine if Greeley had won over Grant, which would have necessitated his Vice Presidential running mate, Benjamin Gratz Brown, to become the President-elect!

In 1912, President William Howard Taft was in a three way race with former President Theodore Roosevelt on the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party line, and with Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson, who would win the three way contest.

But six days before the election, Vice President James Sherman died in office, so when the Electoral College met, it was agreed that Columbia University President Nicholas Murray Butler would be substituted on the Electoral College ballot to receive the 8 electoral votes for Vice President that Taft received for President. This is the only time a sitting Vice President or even Vice Presidential candidate died during the election campaign or before the inauguration.

And in 1940, Businessman Wendell Willkie was nominated for President by the Republican Party to run against Franklin D. Roosevelt, seeking a third term in the White House. Senator Charles McNary of Oregon was chosen as Willkie’s running mate for Vice President.

FDR went on to win, but meanwhile, in an oddity, it turned out that McNary died in February 1944, and Willkie died in October 1944, therefore marking the only time that an entire Presidential ticket, luckily the losing one, failed to survive the term that they were competing to serve in. Luckily so for the nation, as that would have required the Secretary of State for Willkie to have taken over just before the 1944 election, and at a crucial time in World War II!

Jimmy Carter “Mania” Will Begin Upon His Passing, As With Harry Truman After His Death In 1972!

The news that former President Jimmy Carter has been diagnosed with cancer, and that it is spreading, brings historians and all decent Americans to react with shock, and recognition that the 39th President has been regularly trashed in news media and by politicians.

There was a past President who faced 20 years of ridicule and dismissive attitudes until his death. Then, all of a sudden, there was recognition that he had been mistreated, and that his historic significance was unappreciated in his lifetime.

That man was Harry Truman, the 33rd President.

Also, when thinking back, similar ridicule and condemnation was visited upon Abraham Lincoln until his tragic assassination.

No one is trying to say that Jimmy Carter will ever rank with Harry Truman and Abraham Lincoln, far from it!

But Jimmy Carter has suffered in reputation for so long, because of the mythology that has been built up around Ronald Reagan, and during an era where politicians have distorted the record and accomplishments of Reagan, at the expense of Carter.

There will be plenty of time to reassess Jimmy Carter, and his historical image will improve dramatically as a result.

One can expect over the next five to ten years, there will be “Carter Mania”, just as there was “Truman Mania” for five to ten years after his death in 1972.

Meanwhile, let us hope for a miraculous recovery for Jimmy Carter, and if that is not to be, that he not suffer with great pain as he leaves us, after the longest retirement of any President of the United States.

The End Of A Dangerous Situation: The Resignation Of Richard Nixon In 1974

When one looks back at crises in American history, the top of the list are the Civil War, the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor, and the Cuban Missile Crisis up to that time in our history.

But in all four situations mentioned, we had a strong, decisive President who handled the situation extremely well.

We were fortunate to have Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy as our Presidents at the times of these crises.

But once one goes beyond these four transformational moments in our history, then we come to the Watergate scandal and the resignation of Richard Nixon on this day 41 years ago.

Yes, the argument can be made that Richard Nixon had a dramatic and positive effect on areas of domestic and foreign policy, during his five and a half years as President.

But Richard Nixon was also, without question, the most corrupt, dangerous President we had ever had in our history, bar none.

Richard Nixon had mental issues, and saw opponents as enemies, and seemed willing and able to allow aides to abuse power, and for himself to set out to destroy opposition in any way possible.

There was concern in the tense times of the summer of 1974 that Nixon might try to declare martial law, and his Chief of Staff, Alexander Haig, had already told the Pentagon to ignore any potential order from Nixon to suspend the Constitution, which would have established a dictatorship.

This is not to say that Nixon actually would have done so, as he was well aware of the need to do what he could to protect his damaged legacy in history, in any way that he could, but still, the threat, and the sense of mental instability was terrifying at the time.

And this lesson of Richard Nixon makes clear that the news media must be aggressive in pursuing the truth about the true character of all Presidential candidates, and despite attacks, make us aware of their shortcomings, particularly in the mental health area, as the nation cannot afford to elect a man or woman who might be dangerous to our national security and safety due to mental instability.

No one is entitled to be President, and we do not need an unstable person holding the powers of the most significant political position in the entire world!

Political Campaign Debates’ Impact On American History

Do political campaign debates matter?

Absolutely, and the first such case is Abraham Lincoln Vs. Stephen Douglas in the Illinois Senate race of 1858, which helped elevate Lincoln to the Presidency, although losing the Senate seat due to the Democrats controlling the state legislature, and choosing incumbent Democrat Douglas for the new term of office.

Since Presidential debates came about in 1960, and then revived starting in 1976, there have been moments when they really mattered, even if often boring, including:

1960–Richard Nixon sweating and looking tense, while John F. Kennedy smiled, looked tanned, was relaxed.

1976–Gerald Ford says Poland is a free nation, which helps to elect Jimmy Carter in close race.

1980–Ronald Reagan talks about the “Misery Index” and says “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”, and defeats Jimmy Carter.

1984—Ronald Reagan says he will not use age as an issue to show the “youth and inexperience” of opponent Walter Mondale, who he defeats.

1988—Vice Presidential nominee Lloyd Bentsen tells opponent Dan Quayle that he is not another John F. Kennedy, and sets the image of Quayle for all time as an incompetent Vice President, and have no chance to be President when he decides to run in 1996.

1992—George H. W. Bush looks constantly at his watch, during the debate with Bill Clinton, who defeats him, and also Ross Perot.

2000–Al Gore walks over to George W. Bush as he answers question, comes across as a weird action, and also breathes deeply at Bush responses, making Gore seem haughty and condescending.

2008—Sarah Palin does an embarrassing performance in Vice Presidential debate with Joe Biden, harms John McCain campaign.

2012–In Republican Presidential candidate debates, Rick Perry cannot remember the three agencies of government he wishes to eliminate, which ends his candidacy.

2012—Joe Biden laughs at Paul Ryan statements in Vice Presidential debate, weakens Ryan image as Mitt Romney’s running mate.

Also, political campaign debates draw attention to the race, and there will be many Presidential debates starting tonight for the Republicans, and in October for the Democrats.

“Fit” And “Unfit” Presidents In American History

The issue of Presidential health is an important one, as the stresses on the Chief Executive, are, and have been, massive over time, and the job ages all Presidents noticeably.

But separate from general health, there is also the issue of how “fit” or “unfit” Presidents have been while in office, and those who have been active in athletic activities before and during their White House years.

The list of truly “fit” Presidents has favored the younger Presidents over time, but there are also cases of other Presidents who have made being fit an important part of their image as Presidents. These Presidents participated in sports, and even when having health issues over time, they still emphasized the active life.

So the truly “fit” Presidents would include:

George Washington

John Quincy Adams

Andrew Jackson

Abraham Lincoln

Theodore Roosevelt

Dwight D. Eisenhower

John F. Kennedy

Gerald Ford

Ronald Reagan

George H. W. Bush

George W. Bush

Barack Obama

All of the above 12 Presidents did a lot of exercise throughout their lives, and some were in the military as generals (Washington, Jackson, Eisenhower).

Those Presidents that would qualify as particularly unfit would include:

John Adams

Martin Van Buren

James Buchanan

Chester Alan Arthur

Grover Cleveland

William McKinley

William Howard Taft

Warren G. Harding

Lyndon B. Johnson

Bill Clinton

All of the above 10 Presidents had major issues with weight, particularly Taft and Cleveland.

Of course, “fitness” has nothing to do with greatness in the White House, as Franklin D. Roosevelt proves! But FDR also had massive upper body strength, despite the polio that prevented him from walking.

“Surprise” Presidential Nominees, And Often Winners, In American History

As we are about to enter August, the year before the Presidential Election Of 2016, we find two “surprise” candidates doing very well, if one is to judge by crowds and public opinion polls.

Whether Donald Trump and or Bernie Sanders have a real chance to be the nominees of the Republican and Democratic parties is impossible to know this far ahead.

But in American history, there have been many surprise nominees, and or winners of the Presidency.

The examples of this phenomenon follow—17 Presidents and 6 Presidential nominees in 23 Presidential elections:

In 1844, James K. Polk was nominated by the Democrats on the 9th ballot, and went on to defeat the better known and more famous Henry Clay.

In 1848, Mexican War General Zachary Taylor, with no political experience, and no stands on political issues, was nominated by the Whig Party, and elected over Lewis Cass and Free Soil Party nominee, former President Martin Van Buren.

In 1852, little known Franklin Pierce was nominated by the Democrats on the 49th ballot, and went on to defeat famous Mexican War General Winfield Scott.

In 1860, one term Congressman Abraham Lincoln, not in public office in 12 years, was the choice of the Republican Party, and defeated Stephen Douglas, John C. Breckinridge, and John Bell.

In 1868, Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War Union Army hero, with no political experience, was nominated by the Republicans, and defeated Horatio Seymour.

In 1872, the Democrats and a fringe group known as the “Liberal Republicans” nominated well known journalist Horace Greeley, who had never served in public office, losing to President Grant.

In 1892, former President Grover Cleveland, who had lost reelection in 1888 to Benjamin Harrison, came back and defeated Harrison, becoming the only President to win, lose, and then win, and therefore, being listed as the 22nd and 24th Presidents of the United States.

In 1896, a former Nebraska Congressman, only 36 years old, William Jennings Bryan, inspired the Democratic convention and was nominated for President, but lost to William McKinley.

In 1904, an unknown (except in New York) state court judge, Alton B. Parker, was the Democratic nominee against Theodore Roosevelt, but lost.

In 1912, President of Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson, nominated on the 46th ballot by the Democrats, defeated President William Howard Taft, former President Theodore Roosevelt (running on the Progressive Party line), and Socialist Eugene Debs.

In 1920, an obscure Senator with no special accomplishments or credentials, Warren G. Harding, was nominated by the Republicans, and defeated Democratic nominee James Cox.

In 1924, the Democrats were deadlocked at their convention for 103 ballots, and finally nominated corporate attorney John W. Davis, who lost to President Calvin Coolidge and Progressive Party nominee Robert LaFollette, Sr.

In 1928, the Democrats nominated the first Catholic Presidential candidate, Alfred E. Smith, but he lost to Republican nominee Herbert Hoover.

In 1932, the Democrats nominated Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had been judged as having “no particular qualifications” for the Presidency, and he went on to defeat President Herbert Hoover.

In 1940, the Republicans nominated a businessman with no political experience, Wendell Willkie, after he inspired their convention, but he lost to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In 1948, President Harry Truman shocked the political world by winning a full term over Republican Thomas E. Dewey, States Rights nominee Strom Thurmond, and Progressive Party nominee, former Vice President Henry A. Wallace. He had been shown to be way behind Dewey in every political poll taken that year.

In 1952, a World War II general, Dwight D. Eisenhower, never having been involved in politics, was finally convinced to run for President, and defeated Democratic nominee Adlai E. Stevenson.

IN 1960, the second Catholic nominee for President, John F. Kennedy, was able to overcome the religion barrier, and be elected over Republican Richard Nixon, the well known and experienced Vice President under Eisenhower.

In 1968, former defeated Presidential candidate Richard Nixon came back eight years after having lost, and he won the Presidency over Hubert Humphrey and American Independent Party nominee George Wallace.

In 1976, a one term Governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, considered unknown to most and given little chance for the Democratic Presidential nomination, surprised everyone and was elected over President Gerald Ford.

In 1980, an aging two time candidate for President, Ronald Reagan, ended up winning the Republican nomination, and was elected over President Carter.

In 1992, despite a sex scandal, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton won the Democratic nomination, and was elected over President George H. W. Bush and Independent nominee Ross Perot, even with Bush having enjoyed a 91 percent public opinion poll rating during the Persian Gulf War 18 months earlier.

In 2008, an African American first term Senator, with an Islamic middle name of Hussein, Barack Obama, overcame former First Lady Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, and defeated Republican nominee John McCain for the Presidency.

So anything can happen in 2016, with further coverage of the upcoming election being resumed when the Iowa Caucuses take place on February 1.

Until then, this blogger will focus on the promotion of his new book on Presidential Assassinations and Threats. He will give information on the interviews that he will have on radio, tv/cable, the internet, and print media, so that my readers will have an opportunity to investigate my activities over the next six months.

When he has time, he will look at American political, diplomatic and constitutional history solely, as there is much fascinating material that can and should be discussed and analyzed. It will make a look at the future much more significant, as a result of the historical analysis of the Presidency, elections, political parties, the Congress, and the Supreme Court.

Is Al Gore Or John Kerry Viable As A Presidential Candidate In 2016? The History Of Henry Clay, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, And Richard Nixon!

Speculation has risen not only that Vice President Joe Biden might announce for President, but also that former Vice President Al Gore and Secretary of State John Kerry, both who lost the Presidency to George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 respectively, might decide to try for the White House yet again.

Although Hillary Clinton seems to many like a shoo-in for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2016, there are signs of discontent with her, and feelings among many that she is too secretive, not trustworthy, and not all that likable.

The odds are still heavily in favor of her nomination, but there are many who feel Biden, and possibly Gore and or Kerry, should consider running, as it is felt that Bernie Sanders, while performing well right now in regards to crowds and fund raising, ultimately cannot be expected to win the nomination, with his Socialist connections being harmful, due to many Americans misunderstanding the term, and being told it is harmful and dangerous.

But the question arises about Gore and Kerry, that they have both been out of the Presidential game for a very long time, with Gore out 16 years and having no public office since his loss in 2000, despite having won the popular vote over George W. Bush; and Kerry, having served in the Senate after his defeat, until he became Secretary of State after Hillary Clinton left the State Department in 2013, but being out of the Presidential race for 12 years by 2016.

So history is a guide here.

It turns out four Presidential candidates had been out of the Presidential field for very long times, as follows:

Henry Clay lost the Presidential race in 1824, and then 8 years later in 1832, he was nominated again. Then 12 years later, in 1844, he was nominated for the third and last time. Twelve years is a long time!

Abraham Lincoln last held public office in 1848, when he left the House of Representatives after one 2 year term. But then, 12 years later, he ran for President and won!

Franklin D. Roosevelt ran for Vice President in 1920 and lost, and then was sidelined by polio, not running again for public office until 8 years later, when he won the Governorship of New York in 1928. Four years later, and 12 years after losing the Vice Presidency, he won the Presidency in 1932!

Finally, Richard Nixon lost the Presidency in 1960 and lost, then ran for California Governor in 1962 and lost, and yet came back 6 years later, after 8 years out of office, and yet won the Presidential Election of 1968!

Are Al Gore and John Kerry as long shots as Clay, Lincoln, FDR, and Nixon were?

That is the issue to confront, and this author would say that while both of them seem “long shots”, we have had other “long shots”, who few thought had a chance to win the Presidency, and in recent times yet—John F. Kennedy (Catholic issue) in 1960; Jimmy Carter (Southern issue) in 1976; Bill Clinton (Sex Scandal issue) in 1992; and Barack Obama (Race issue) in 2008!

So literally, anything is possible in American Presidential politics!