I Heart Indies

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Presidential Losers #12: Henry Harrison, Hugh Lawson White, Daniel Webster, and Willie Mangum

Daniel Webster
In 1836, Andrew Jackson, deciding not to seek a third term, gave his support to Martin van Buren.  Republicans, disaffected Democrats, rag-ends of the Federalist Party, and a few hold-outs from the Anti-Masonic Party formed a coalition party, the Whigs.  
Willie Person Mangum

The problem with the Whig coalition is it never really coalesced, and they wound up with not one, but four presidential candidates: William Henry Harrison, Hugh Lawson White, and Daniel Webster.  If it had been tag-team wrestling, the Whigs would have whipped some serious booty; unfortunately, it was a presidential race, so they only wound up splitting what support they had.  
Hugh Lawson White

Daniel Webster, a great orator, was best know for his speech, "The Second Reply to Hayne."  (Who can ever forget it?)  Evidently the first reply was good, but the second reply - whoa Nellie!  It went on for two days and had everyone on the edge of their seats.  Later he gave some good speeches, but never matched that one, and everyone was like, "Good speech, Dan, but why don't you do something like the Second Reply to Hayne again?  Now that was a speech."

Hugh Lawson White and Willie Person Mangum were career politicians known for firm and steadfast principles.  (BOR-ing!)  
William Henry Harrison

Harrison was a man of action and daring-do, a man’s man, no matter how sissy he might look in the picture, an old Indian fighter (the new ones were too tough) who had won himself the nickname of Tippecanoe after a decisive battle of the same name.  He’d gone to fight the fierce Indian warrior Tecumseh, and when he couldn’t locate him, he fought Tecumseh’s medicine man.  Whipped him, too.  Then he went and burned a deserted Indian village.  For this, the American people loved him.  Just not as much as Martin van Buren. 1


Martin Van Buren: 170
William Henry Harrison: 73
Hugh Lawson White: 26
Daniel Webster: 1
Willie Person Mangum: 1

1. Harrison got his chance in the next go-round, when he beat van Buren.  Determined to show he was as vigorous and manly as in his Indian-fighter days, he read his inaugural address in the rain, refusing to wear a hat or hold an umbrella.  The speech had been edited by Harrison's pal Daniel Webster, but it hadn't been edited near enough: it was four hours long.  Harrison set two records: longest inaugural address and shortest time in office; he died within a month.  Sometimes it turns out that whatever doesn't kill you makes you weaker and then you die later from complications.  

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