With Election Armageddon upon us, perhaps it’s time to take a look at some of America’s other, stranger elections:
Ulysseys S. Grant vs Horace Greeley
This election not only featured the shortest political Convention of either party in history, it was also one in which the Democratic nominee died before the Electoral College cast its votes. Among other things, suffragist Victoria Woodhull was a candidate representing a woman’s right to vote. The Democratic Party had nominated the anti-Democratic crusader Greeley as part of its campaign to drop its opposition to Reconstruction and move past the War between the States. In the end, Grant won handily, although his administration became riddled with scandal during his second term.
Rutherford B. Hayes vs Samuel Tilden
This could safely be called the last battle of the Civil War, as Tilden won the popular vote while Hayes eventually won the Electoral College via a special Commission. The Democrats agreed to accept Hayes if he removed the remaining Northern troops from the South, and Reconstruction ended the following year. This was one of four elections (including 1824, 1888, and 2000) in which the winning candidate did not actually win the election.
Jefferson vs Adams
Sometimes called “The Revolution of 1800” the election was a hard-fought battle between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, with issues such as the Alien and Sedition Acts dominating the fight between the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans. Voting actually lasted from April to October, as there was no set election day. One of the problems was the vote in the Electoral College which became a tie, which was changed by the addition of the 12th Amendment to the Constitution. The election featured nasty personal attacks between the candidates, with Jefferson using James Callendar as his attack dog against Adams, a move that eventually backfired when Callendar went to jail for slander. Callendar, in turn, would be the one to break the story about Jefferson’s relationship with Sally Hemmings.
Bush vs Gore
This is the one that still leaves a bitter taste in many Democrats’ mouths. Gore narrowly won the popular vote but lost in the Electoral College in an election that went through recounts, lawsuits, and hanging chads. Eventually, the State Supreme Court decided that Bush had won Florida’s decisive 25 electoral votes, and the election. Bush would win a more decisive victory against John Kerry in 2004, but for years after he was referred to by many liberals as having been “selected” rather than “elected.”