David Blumenthal Six Park by David Blumenthal

Between Hilary’s on-again, off –again FBI investigations, Trump’s controversial and unconventional policies, his late night twitter tirades, the vicious personal attacks by both candidates and the wild polling results, you would be forgiven for thinking the latest presidential race will go down as one of the most peculiar elections in history.

But you would be wrong.

As it turns out, there have been a number of strange US presidential elections in the past.

  • In 1841, President William Harrison became the shortest serving president in US history, dying after just one month in office. He reportedly caught pneumonia after delivering a numbing two-hour long inauguration speech during a heavy snowstorm
  • During the 1800 election, Vice President candidate Aaron Burr killed his rival Alexander Hamilton in a pistol duel. What started as an exchange of disparaging letters soon escalated into a bitter dispute – without all the twitter hashtags!
  • In 1872, President Ulysses Grant won his re-election bid against a dead man. His opponent, Horace Greenley, lost the popular vote by an overwhelming margin and ended up passing away in a mental hospital weeks later…before the formal electoral college ballot had been finalised!
  • During the 1920 presidential election, one of the candidates – Eugene Debs – ran his entire campaign from prison. Debs lost – but still secured 3% of the popular vote. It turns out some politicians really are criminals!
  • During the 1824 election, John Adams was elected president despite securing less than one-third of the popular vote and also failing to obtain a majority of the required electoral votes. In a bizarre twist of events, Adams was appointed president by the House of Representatives when his two main rivals failed to secure the necessary majorities and his third opponent (Henry Clay) dropped out and used his influence as House Speaker to help push Adams across the line in the ensuing parliamentary vote.

So there you have it. The Trump vs. Clinton battle wasn’t the most bizarre U.S. Presidential election by a long shot. Crazy elections have been around long before social media had evolved to document it all!

Published November 15, 2016