The Way It Was: Horace Greeley

By June 8, 2008The Way It Was

The%20Way%20It%20Was.jpgIn 1872, the famous newspaperman Horace Greeley was candidate for President for both the Democrat and Liberal Republican Parties. Trouble was, he was up against President Ulysses Grant of Civil War fame, one of the most popular Presidents ever.

Greeley was 60 years old and in declining health. His wife was on her deathbed. He wrote a friend, “I wish she were to be laid in her grave next week, and I to follow her the week after.”

On October 30 Molly Greeley died. Greeley wrote to his friend again, “I am not dead, but I wish I were. My house is desolate, my future dark, my heart a stone.”

Grant was re-elected in a landslide. Greeley carried only six states. The distraught man, his mind going, had to be institutionalized. On November 29, three weeks after the election, Greeley died.

When the electoral college met in December, three electors from Georgia insisted on voting for Greeley even though he was dead. But Congress refused to count their votes.

So poor Horace Greeley, in less than a month, lost his wife, the presidency, his mind and then his life. He was the only major presidential candidate to receive no electoral votes.

And you think you had a bad day.

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