Wednesday, November 7, 2012

This Day in History November 7, 1841

Thomas Eakins [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
"For honest merit to succeed amid the tricks and intrigues which are now so lamentably common, I know is difficult; but the honor of success is increased by the obstacles which are to be surmounted. Let me triumph as a man or not at all."

We can find this quote in the journals of Rutherford B. Hayes on this date in 1841.  This was long before he became president, and I felt his story was exactly what we should hear on this date of a divided country.  He knew what it meant to be president of a divided country.  He was our 19th president (1871-1881).  His election was the most contested president in history. Talk about name-calling--thief, drunken syphilitic.  African Americans were kept from voting in the South, and the most hotly contested states were Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina.  Republican Hayes did not receive the popular vote, but he still became president.  Maybe there is something to learn here?  And then again, maybe not because it sounds like Hayes was part of the problem rather than the solution.

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