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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Presidential Losers #1: John Hancock

What patriotic heart does not beat just a little faster at the mention of those immortals who led this great nation of ours: Garfield, Polk, Taylor.  But what of the also-rans, the near-misses, and wannabes?  In short, what of the losers?  This blog shall honor those who sought the laurel of leadership, but won only the cabbage of loser-ship. 

Technically, the first election for the President of the United States wasn’t much of an election because George Washington ran unopposed.  But John Hancock had already lost years before in 1775. when the Continental Congress selected the Commander in Chief for the Continental Army. 

People must’ve pretty much figured whoever led the army, assuming he didn't get himself killed, would someday also lead the country. Hancock, already President of the Congress, assumed the job would be his. John Adams records in his diary that Hancock had a big smirk on his face when Adams rose to give the nomination. Hancock and the Adams boys were tighter than a button-down shirt on a body builder, or at least they were up to that time. 

Adams gave his speech, building up the man he was about to nominate with glowing praise, and when he got to the name, “George Washington,” Hancock looked like he’d just found a dead cat in his lap. Ever after that, Hancock’s star was pretty much on the decline. He did do the thing with the fancy signature, on July 4, 1776, signing the Declaration of Independence with the boast, “King George will be able to read this without his spectacles.” Except he never said that. He did sign on July 4, but that was just the copy they sent to the printer. He didn’t get around to putting on his fancy signature until August.

In 1788, knowing the presidency was out of reach, Hancock allowed his name to be put forth for Vice President. He got a measly four electoral votes, and not one of them from his own state of Massachusetts. Those had gone to John Adams, the man who’d done him dirty back in ’75.

The Result

George Washington: 69

John Hancock: 4


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