Tuesday, September 18, 2007

September 18, 1812:

Herschel Vespasian Johnson's Birthday

In the four-way race that was the presidential election of 1860, there were four candidates for vice president as well, including Herschel Vespasian Johnson (pictured), former governor of Georgia. He ran with Stephen Douglas as a "Northern" Democrat, but the ticket only won one state, Missouri, and took three of New Jersey's electoral votes, for a total of 12 electoral votes, a meager showing indeed. The ticket did, however, come in second behind the Republicans in the popular vote nationwide -- such as the nation was at that point.

After the election, Johnson served the Confederacy as a Senator. After the war, he was returned to the US Senate by voters in Georgia, but that body would not seat him, and he ended his days as a judge in Georgia, dying in 1880.

And who were the other vice presidential candidates in that momentous election? Republican Hannibal Hamlin, of course, won the veep prize, but has became as much of an historic footnote as any of the losers, which is a common fate of vice presidents. Running with John C. Breckinridge -- the incumbent vice president -- on the "Southern" Democratic ticket was Joseph Lane of Oregon. They got 72 electoral votes. Running with John Bell on the nonce Constitutional Union ticket was Edward Everett of Massachusetts, who got 39 electoral votes. He is not remembered for this vice presidential bid. Instead, Everett is remembered as the speaker who came before Lincoln at Gettysburg.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sen. Lane of Oregon isn't entirely forgotten. A little bit of research shows that there's a Joseph Lane Middle School in Roseburg, Oregon, his home town. See http://www.roseburg.k12.or.us/jolane/ ANK