|"Only the grave has scored a victory over their never-ending dreams." 1a|
|My God! What is there in this place that anyone should want to get into it?|
|--||James G. Blaine, at a White House dinner, 1878 1b 2a|
Highlights - 1900s:
In talking with Roosevelt, Hadley "mentioned the possibility that the presidency, if he should be nominated and elected, might kill him. [Roosevelt] replied that in his judgment it was worth the sacrifice; that the presidency of the United States was the greatest task that could be laid upon any man, and that to fulfill it worthily was paramount to every consideration of personal welfare." [Davis p. 303]
Ultimately, the Republicans in 1912 could not agree on a compromise. The party split, enabling the victory of Woodrow Wilson.
My last meeting with him was in the spring of 1892 in the Secretary of State's office. I saw plainly that he could not stand the strain of official duties -- certainly not the Presidency.Blaine sought the Republican nomination for President in 1876, 1880, 1884, and 1892, but gained it only in 1884. He then lost the general election to Democrat Grover Cleveland.
Blaine was then within a year of his death. He would not have lived to enter the White House, had he been nominated and elected. His candidacy was a dying man's last grasp at a lifetime's ambition. 1b
Secretary of the Treasury Benjamin Bristow learned of Blaine's illness and came to the Blaine home to express his sympathy. Mrs. Blaine did not admit him, and Bristow was told that Mrs. Blaine was "out." Mr. Blaine was not informed that Bristow called.Bristow, a Kentuckian, also sought the nomination in 1876. Until this incident, he was a natural ally of Blaine (both were opposed to the Ulysses Grant administration). When the Kentucky delegation heard of the Blaine rebuff to their candidate, they switched their votes to Rutherford Hayes, enough to give Hayes the nomination 1e.
What could be more pathetic than the picture of Daniel Webster, while still Secretary of State in the Millard Fillmore Cabinet, too ill to attend to his official duties and within five months of his death, as a rival of Fillmore for nomination in the Whig convention of 1852? There were forty-seven ballots before General Winfield Scott was nominated. Through all of them the President and his Secretary of State led contesting factions 1g.
The derailing effect of the stroke on Crawford's campaign is given below:
Crawford, too, was losing ground. To the structural defects already discernible in the Georgian's political edifice was added another, as he failed to develop that secondary strength deemed so important in a crowded contest where last-minute horse trades might tell the tale. Granted the Secretary of the Treasury was first in Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware and New York. These states could not elect him, and in what states was he the runner-up? While grappling for a solution of this difficulty, Crawford's campaign organization was staggered by the most overwhelming personal calamity which has assailed a pilgrim toiling the steep slope toward the presidency.Had Crawford died from the stroke, or been forced to withdraw from the campaign, it is possible the election would have gone to Jackson.
In August or early September, 1823, Mr. Crawford left Washington, his jovial mood unruffled by the clouds upon the horizon of his fortunes, his enormous frame apparently bearing with ease the burden of fifty-one years. A fortnight later a form under a sheet was carried into a house in the Virginia hills. The Secretary of the Treasury was paralyzed in every limb, speechless, nearly blind and nearly deaf. Friends, whom it was indispensably necessary to inform of the tragedy, waited anxiously to ascertain whether his mind, too, were gone.
So closely was William H. Crawford guarded during the next year and a half, so many were the tricks to dissemble his true condition, so few, and they so close-mouthed, knew the facts, that even now it seems impossible to reconstruct what had happened. The most probable story is that a paralytic stroke had been induced by an overdose of lobelia prescribed by a country physician treating an attack of erysipelas.
The stricken man rallied and the bedside watchers learned that his mind was unimpaired. Nor was this all. The blow that had prostrated the flesh could not prevail against the spirit of William Harris Crawford and, as soon as his thick tongue could mumble a word, it was for his friends to carry on the fight because he would get well. Then the world received its first news of the affliction that had befallen the candidate. A paragraph in the Crawford press announced that the Georgian was convalescing from the painful illness. 4a