Thursday, February 7, 2008

Twenty-third President: Benjamin Harrison - 0 comments

We just recently learned about Rutherford B. Haye's disputed election (Hayes lost the popular vote but won the needed electoral votes through a congressional committee and some backroom dealing), and now we come to another dynastic President, whose family connections got him into the running, and then helped him win a rigged election. Our modern-day election worries seem tame by comparison.

Benjamin Harrison was Old Tippecanoe's grandson (I think you can see the resemblance), and had a rather undistinguished political career before his candidacy for President. In the election of 1888, groups of electors literally sold their votes to the Republican party in New York and Indiana. The fraud was exposed at the time, known now as the Blocks of Five. Despite this blatant fraud and losing the popular vote by a wide margin, Harrison took the office anyway. He was promptly replaced at the end of his term by the rightful victor, Chester A. Arthur.


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