Friday, April 20, 2018

the last book I ever read (Benjamin Harrison: The American Presidents Series by Charles W. Calhoun, excerpt five)

from Benjamin Harrison: The American Presidents Series by Charles W. Calhoun:

It is impossible to know precisely when Benjamin Harrison began seriously to consider the notion that he could follow in his grandfather’s footsteps to the White House. After he had won the prize, he had told a friend that “the thought had been with him many times when suggested by others, but he had never been possessed by it or had his life shaped by it.” Over the years, friendly newspapers and political associates had occasionally raised the idea, which he graciously acknowledged but gently poohed-poohed. To friends, he explained that his 1884 quasi candidacy had been designed primarily to thwart that of his Hoosier rival, Walter Q. Gresham. With no apparent sense of irony, he thereby confessed to a motive hardly more admirable than overweening ambition. During the 1886 campaign, Harrison had confided to close friends that he would “shed no tears” if he lost his Senate seat and that he “would greatly enjoy the opportunity to attend to my own business and let politics alone.” Yet he knew that national party leaders had watched his campaign closely, and afterward he wrote a friend, “I have come out of it with more friends & reputation than ever before.”

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