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A Champion of Reform

October 23, 2019

Horace Greeley had been a poor choice to represent the Democrats in 1872.  He wasn’t even a true Democrat.  He had been one of the founders of the Republican Party back in 1854 and was the 1872 standard-bearer for a splinter group that convinced the Democrats to go along.

Associate Justice David Davis had hoped to receive the nomination of this splinter group in 1872.  If that had happened, the Democrats might have embraced him as they did Greeley.  Some thought the Democrats would choose Davis in 1876.  The problem was Davis, like Greeley, did not have a background in the Democratic Party.  Couldn’t the Democrats find a real Democrat to represent them in the next Presidential election?

Horatio Seymour, the Democratic nominee in 1868, was still living and still respected by his fellow Democrats, but he was determined to remain on the sidelines.  General George McClellan, who had lost to Lincoln in 1864, would not even be fifty years of age until after the election, but he had been out of the public eye for a long time.  Besides, McClellan had opposed abolition.

The Democrats needed someone who was not identified with slavery.  Their candidate would also need to stand out as a person of integrity, someone who would fight government corruption.  Who better than the man who had broken up the Tweed Ring?

Governor Samuel J. Tilden had accomplished this and had also brought down the Canal Ring.  His reputation as a champion of reform was assured.  Surely he would be the next President of the United States.




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