With the Presidential election two weeks from today, consider this. No candidate in American history has won a major party nomination and died just prior to the election. Imagine the mess such a death would create! However, as we go back in history, there is one man who died at this time (October 24 to be precise) during a Presidential campaign. Not only that, but this man had sought the Presidency often and had in fact hoped to receive the nomination the year of his death.
Which of these frequent Presidential candidates would that be?
A) New Hampshire's own Daniel Webster in 1852
B) South Carolina's John C. Calhoun in 1848
C) Kentucky's Henry Clay in 1952
D) New York's Thomas Dewey in 1956
E) Adlai Stevenson, of Illinois, in 1960
Answer--Since Stevenson served as John F. Kennedy's United Nations ambassador, we can rule him out. He in fact died July 14, 1965. Thomas Dewey lived until March 24, 1982, so that can't be the answer, and we are left with the three giants who compose the Great Triumvirate in Merrill Peterson's book. In fact, all three died about the same time. They were all around for the Compromise of 1850, so we can rule Calhoun out for an 1848 death (he lived until March 31, 1850). So it's down to Clay and Webster. Clay in fact became very ill at the time of the Compromise of 1850 and although he survived until June 28, 1852, he was not running for President that year. Thus, the answer is Daniel Webster. He died two weeks before another New Hampshire native, Franklin Pierce, was elected President. In fact, earlier in 1852, Webster had once again, with no chance of success, sought the Presidency.
Born on January 18, 1782, Webster died October 24, 1852. In the midst of his Presidential campaign, Pierce paused to attend the funeral.
RIP, Black Dan...or would you prefer...RIP, Godlike Daniel.
Here he is.