Thursday, August 27, 2009
Triple VP Birthdays Today!
This is one of those things where people would say-"You're making that up".
We hear that a lot with "Vice-Precedence", that we're just making stuff up when we tell someone how John Breckinridge disguised himself as a pirate and then got attacked by actual pirates, or how William Rufus De Vane King was called "Miss Nancy" because he wore jewelry, silk scarves, and wigs all around Washington, or even how Lyndon Johnson made Hubert Humphrey dress up in cowboy clothes complete with a 10-gallon hat and paraded him in front of the press laughing the whole time.
Well, its all true and just goes to prove that "Truth is stranger than fiction" and so is this. Today, August 27th is the birthday of not one, not even two, but THREE Vice-Presidents!
Hannibal Hamlin, Abraham Lincolns first VP was born today-August 27th in 1809 in Maine. Hamlin was added to the ticket with Lincoln to provide East coast balance to a Western ticket and because Maine was a very strong Republican state, it was the first state to become a truly Republican state-electing Hamlin governor at the very beginning of the party's existence.
Hamlin is best known for spending the majority of his time as VP back home in Maine and only coming to Washington when he absolutely had to. Feeling he had to give something to the war effort, Hamlin served as an enlisted man-a buck private really, as a cook on a ship for the Maine Coast Guard for 60 days. Steve Tally pointed out in "Bland Ambition" that had Lincoln been assassinated while VP Hamlin was in the Coast Guard (and it almost happened-Twice!) it would have been the largest promotion in U.S. military/political history. From enlisted potato-peeler to Commander in Chief in a snap!
The second VP born today was Charles G. Dawes, born August 27th 1865 in Marietta, Ohio. His picture graces this edition of the blog. Dawes served as Vice-President under Calvin Coolidge from 1925 to 1929. The two men hated each other however and this led to Dawes being a very ineffectual VP.
Dawes was nicknamed "Hell and Maria" because of his famous statement to the U.S. Senate at hearings on overspending during World War I. When pressed about the issue in a heated moment, Dawes burst out-"Hell and Maria, we weren't trying to keep a set of books over there! We were trying to win a war!"
Dawes was the creator of the Dawes Plan which was a program to help restore the economies of Europe after WWI, and for his efforts Dawes won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1925. Unfortunately, the plan was so harsh on Germany and its economy and people, and so unworkable that it fell apart and helped to lead to World War II. Oh well, at least he tried.
Finally, the third VP born on this day of August 27th in 1908 in Stonewall, Texas was Lyndon Baines Johnson. The Legendary LBJ himself, "Landslide" Lyndon. LBJ of course went on to become President after the tragic assassination of President Kennedy, so he won't be someone we focus on in the film. LBJ has been the subject of many books and even a TV movie where he was played by Randy Quaid, and there are many well known anecdotes about him. However I would be remiss if I didn't list some fact about him here, so here's what I'll leave you with. LBJ was very proud of "Little" LBJ, mostly because it wasn't little at all, he nicknamed it "Jumbo".
So on that note-Join us here at Vice-Precedence in saying:
Happy Birthday Hannibal Hamlin!
Happy Birthday Charles Dawes!
Happy Birthday LBJ!
Thanks for reading!