Super Tuesday: 4 Unusual Presidential Elections
Super Tuesday is tomorrow, March 1, and Texas is one of 13 states and 1 territory voting to elect presidential candidates for the Republican or Democratic parties. In celebration of American democracy, we’re taking a look at 4 notable American presidential elections.
Washington Unopposed in Presidential Race
The nation’s very first election was a bit odd. George Washington ran for president unopposed. The stranger part of this election? There were no political parties yet.
The 69 electors at the time all cast one vote for George Washington, making him president, and John Adams became vice president (with the second-highest number of votes). Washington, extremely liked by the American people, served two terms.
Dual Votes Lead to A Duel
In the election of 1, Thomas Jefferson was running for president against John Adams, and his running mate was Aaron Burr. John Adams received the smallest number of votes, while Jefferson and Burr actually tied.
Congress was called on to break the tie and determine who would become the next president of the United States. Alexander Hamilton, America’s first treasury secretary, campaigned for Congress to select Jefferson as winner. Hamilton didn’t like any of the options, but saw Jefferson as the “lesser of the three evils.”
Jefferson was eventually elected president and Burr was elected vice president. Unfortunately, Burr and Hamilton developed a rivalry due to Hamilton’s influence on the election and in 1804, Burr killed Hamilton in a duel.
Can You Be Inaugurated If You’re Incarcerated?
In the 1920 election, Warren G. Harding easily defeated James Cox to take the role of president. However, the person who won 3rd place ran his campaign from prison.
Eugene Debs, a union leader, had run for president 4 times prior to the 1920 election. Sentenced to 10 years in prison for giving an anti-law speech under espionage law, Debs conducted his campaign from the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary. He actually won 900,000 votes, a mere fraction of Harding’s 16 million votes. Upon becoming president, Harding commuted Deb’s sentence to time served.
Surprised by Victory
In the 1948 election, nobody expected Harry S. Truman to win a second term. Polls revealed that a majority of Americans were unhappy with the way Truman was running things. A Gallup poll predicted opponent Thomas Dewey would win the election by 5% and an NBC report predicted Truman would lose.
The Chicago Daily Tribune referred to Truman as a “nincompoop” and, because of a strike, the newspapers had to be printed earlier than normal. The publisher trusted the predictions and approved the “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline.
At 4 in the morning, President Truman’s Secret Service agents woke him up with the astonishing news: Truman had won and would be president for a second term.
Every American presidential election is important because it has shaped our nation’s history and reflects the different directions America has taken. As we vote in tomorrow’s primary election, may we be grateful for the constitutional right to vote for our nation’s leaders.
The U.S. Constitution guarantees us certain rights, including the right to legal counsel. If you need a lawyer, contact the Colley & Colley law firm in Tyler, Texas for a free consultation. We’re dedicated to providing you with the best legal counsel in East Texas.