November 2 is the birthday of James Knox Polk, 11th President of the United States, who was the first of ten children born Samuel and Jane Knox Polk. The future president was born in 1795 on his family farm in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, though he came to manhood in Tennessee and entered politics in that state as a protégé of Andrew Jackson. Among other distinctions, he was the first president born in North Carolina and the first president whose mother survived him.
November 2 is also the birthday of Warren Gamaliel Harding, 29th President of the United States, who was the first of eight children of George Tyron and Elizabeth Dickerson Harding and named for great-uncle the Rev. Warren Gamaliel Bancroft. The future president was born in 1865 in Corisa, Ohio (now Blooming Grove), and came of age in Ohio and became the most recent president from that state -- the seventh born there and the sixth elected to presidency while a resident of Ohio. He was the first and only newspaper publisher elected president and the first president whose father survived him.
On November 2, 1852, Franklin Pierce and William R. King, Democrats, prevailed in the 17th presidential election over Winfield Scott and William Alexander Graham, Whigs. The Democrats won 254 electoral votes, while the Whigs got 42. Their shares of the popular vote were 50.8 percent and 43.9 percent, respectively. It was the death knell for the Whig Party. Minor parties in the race included the Free Soil Party, the Liberty Party, the Union Party and the Southern Rights Party.
On November 2, 1880, James A. Garfield and Chester Alan Arthur, Republicans, bested Winfield Scott Hancock and William Hayden English, Democrats, in the 24th presidential election. The Republicans polled 48.3 percent of the popular vote, compared with 48.2 percent for the Democrats -- a difference of only about 2,000 out of nearly 9 million cast -- and took the electoral college 214 to 155. The Greenback Party, Prohibition Party and the American Party also fielded candidates for president that year.
On November 2, 1920, Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge, Republicans, won the 34th presidential election over James M. Cox and Franklin D. Roosevelt, Democrats. Harding-Coolidge took 60.3 percent of the popular vote and 404 electoral votes, while Cox-Roosevelt took 34.1 percent of the popular vote and 127 electoral votes. The Socialist Party nominated Eugene V. Debs, who was in prison at the time, and he received 3.4 percent of the popular vote -- the highest ever for a Socialist. The Farmer-Labor, Prohibition, Socialist Labor, Single-Tax and American parties also fielded candidates.
On November 2, 1948, Harry S. Truman and Alben W. Barkley, Democrats, upset Thomas E. Dewey and Earl Warren, Republicans, in the 41st presidential election, capturing 49.6 percent of the popular vote and 303 electoral votes, compared with 45.1 percent of the popular vote and 189 electoral votes. The States' Rights Democratic Party, which nominated Strom Thurmond for president, took 2.4 percent of the popular vote and 39 electoral votes; the Progressive/American Labor Parties, whose nominee was former Vice President Henry Wallace, also took 2.4 percent of the popular vote, but no electoral votes. The Socialist Party and the Prohibition Party also fielded candidates.
On November 2, 1976, Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale, Democrats, won the 48th presidential election, beating Gerald Ford and Bob Dole, Republicans. Carter-Mondale took 50.1 percent of the popular vote and 297 electoral votes, while Ford-Dole captured 48 percent of the popular vote and 240 electoral votes. A number of other parties fielded candidates, such as the Libertarians, Socialists, Communists, People's and U.S. Labor.