Partisan rancor. Conspiracy theories. Disenfranchised voters. Foreign meddling. Contested results. Maybe it’s not exactly a comfort, but the United States has seen it all before. Dive into the history of contentious presidential elections that rival 2020 for drama and intrigue, including the “Corrupt Bargain” of 1824 (when a popular-vote loser squeaked into the White House for the first time), the 1864 election (held during the middle of the Civil War), and, yeah, the last one.
A madman versus a crook? Unexpected twists? Fake news? Welcome to the election of 1800.
Outlandish rumors helped elect Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren and have been with us ever since.
Fearing Abraham Lincoln would lose reelection, some wondered if the country should delay the election.
If you want an example of a real nation-rending, Constitution-bending contested presidential election that might have conceivably led to a second Civil War, you have to go back to the U.S. Centennial Year of 1876.
Though the election of 1948 is best remembered for the Chicago Tribune newspaper’s embarrassing, incorrect “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline, its forgotten story is of Henry Wallace, a liberal dreamer who became the Kremlin’s unwitting pawn.
It took decades to unravel Richard Nixon’s sabotage of Vietnam peace talks in 1968. Now, the full story can be told.
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