Sunday, April 22, 2018

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

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

But if Harrison and Blaine were ideologically well suited for partnership, temperamentally the “magnetic” secretary and the austere but assertive president were worlds apart. Harrison had long been a Blaine supporter but never a fawning one, nor had he been within Blaine’s inner circle. The president now hoped for an association in which the two would show generous mutual respect but still understand the lines of authority. Blaine, however, had trouble adjusting to the new relationship, and superficial cordiality soon masked mutual suspicion. Upon taking office, Blaine had his heart set on making his son Walker first assistant secretary of state, but Harrison felt that he could not give the two top slots in the department to the same family. Although he gave Walker another job at State, which allowed him to assist his father, Blaine and his wife were deeply disappointed. The refusal of the assistantship, said Halford, “resulted in a rankling that never healed.”

But the Blaines harbored a contempt for the Harrisons that transcended their disappointment over this clearly unreasonable request. Neither James nor Harriet Blaine could throw off the notion that the Harrisons occupied places that rightfully belonged to them. Blaine’s conviction that he had made Harrison president found ample affirmation among his followers and in much of the press. Moreover, the Blaines considered the “Hoosiers” living in the White House their social inferiors. Throughout his life, Blaine had cultivated an air of sophistication and flashy charm, and he privately disdained the president’s sobersided demeanor. In family correspondence, Harriet Blaine mocked Caroline Harrison as “her American majesty” and complained that “Harrison is of such a nature that you do not feel at all at liberty to enjoy yourself.”

No comments:

Post a Comment