The presidential election of 1872 offered two candidatesthat have a chance of competing with Mrs. Clinton, U.S. Grant and HoraceGreeley.
Grant was the foremost Civil War general. No one can denythat he wrapped up the war for the Union and deserved all of the credit hereceived for that. Unfortunately his was totally out of his realm as president.He was easily hoodwinked by wealthy men and politicians. He couldn’t see the improprietiesof accepting big gifts from political donors. The many scandals that were toemerge during his second term were coming to the surface at the end of hisfirst.
Horace Greely was a noted newspaper man. He had built one ofthe leading newspapers in The United States, The New York Tribune. The trouble was he was mentally unstable.
During the Civil War Greely’s mood swings nearly droveLincoln nuts. A one point he would publish things like “Kill the Rebels!On to Richmond!” At other times he would decry the fate of Union anddeclare that Lincoln should let the Rebels go their separate way. Lincoln had ahard time keeping Greely inline during the war. Some modern historians believethat Greely had Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a form of autism.
Grant was opposed by a faction in the Republican Party,which were called the Liberal Republicans. Unlike today’s liberals they were ofthe 19th century variety who supported freedom and honesty in government. Theybroke with the main party and nominated Greely. Their first choice had beenCharles Francis Adams, who was the son and grandson of former presidents. Adamsplaced too many conditions on his candidacy, however, and the Greeley got thenod.
The Democrats were so hard up for a candidate that theynominated Greely too. This flew in the face of the fact that Greely had been alifelong critic of the Democratic Party and had long been a Republican.
The race was very tough on Greely. Greely had called forreconciliation with the South and an end to Reconstruction. Cartoonist ThomasNast, who is best known for his Santa Claus drawings savagely attacked Greeley.One of Nast’s cartoons depicted Greeley shaking hands with John Wilkes Boothover the grave of Abraham Lincoln.
Greeley took all of this personally, and after he was badlybeaten in the election, he went into a deep depression. Greeley was admitted toan insane asylum, and died before the electoral votes were cast. For the firstElectoral College electors were faced with the prospect of voting for a deadman. The answer today would be to vote for the vice presidential candidate. Butsince Greeley had lost it didn’t matter.
So there are two more candidates who might be worse thanHillary.