Wednesday, April 25, 2018

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

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

In the weeks following the Republican convention, Harrison moved to repair fissures within the party. To replace Blaine as secretary of state, he turned to Chauncey Depew, who had long been a conciliator among Republican factions in New York. Depew declined, however, arguing that he could be more useful on the stump. More important, Depew told the president that because of his position as head of the New York Central Railroad, his entering the cabinet would likely alienate farmers whom Harrison was trying to woo. Harrison then tapped John W. Foster, who had backed Harrison’s Indiana rival, Walter Gresham, in 1888, and who had in recent years performed considerable service in various State Department negotiations. (Foster’s grandson John Foster Dulles was secretary of state in the 1950s.) As for nonessential appointments, Harrison took Reid’s advice to defer them until after the election to avoid making new enemies.

Harrison also sought a reorganization of the party’s national committee. Clarkson’s action against the president in the convention compelled his stepping down as chairman, although he retained a seat on the executive committee and worked in the campaign. Several men whom Harrison approached declined the chairmanship, which finally went to Thomas H. Carter of Montana, a former congressman who held a position in the administrationas commissioner of the General Land Office. Harrison hoped that Carter’s backing of free coinage of silver would help attract support in the West. But even though Harrison thought that the thirty-seven-year-old Carter was “a very bright, judicious, level-headed fellow . . . and thoroughly loyal,” he was an amateur compared to Clarkson or the 1888 chairman, Matthew Quay.

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