By Jim O’Neal
Samuel J. Tilden got robbed in the 1876 presidential election.
But then again, his life was full of conflicts and ironies:
- A brilliant intellectual with a tired, battle-worn body at age 62
- Intense loyalty to the Democratic Party that was crushed by prosecuting the Boss Tweed gang in NYC
- A cold, unapproachable man that tens of thousands of Americans revered for his reform efforts
- A hypochondriac who was always searching for medicines and cures, but with the stamina to work healthy men to exhaustion
His legal practice and shrewd investments made him both rich and influential. He managed the finances for many friends, relatives and political allies … including Martin Van Buren.
In 1848, he helped ex-President Van Buren snag the Free Soil Party nomination for president (he lost), and in the process helped ensure the election of the Whig Zachary Taylor.
Tilden (1814-1886) became the 25th governor of New York in 1875 … and then immediately took on the Canal Gang that was systematically robbing the state through fraudulent construction and maintenance on the New York State Canal System.
His success earned him the 1876 Democratic nomination for president … ugh.
To be continued …
Intelligent Collector blogger JIM O’NEAL is an avid collector and history buff. He is President and CEO of Frito-Lay International [retired] and earlier served as Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo Restaurants International [KFC Pizza Hut and Taco Bell].