Every four years, candidates make their case to the American people about why they are the best choice for president. In one election, a majority of voters might want a president who seems able to fix a troubled economy. In another, they could veer toward a strong military leader. Sometimes voters want reassurance. Sometimes they want change. And every so often the Electoral College takes the choice away from voters entirely. In this engaging historical review, Chris Barsanti takes a thought-provoking look at ten notable presidential elections that were pivotal in determining the course of American history, including:
- The 1796 election of John Adams, which proved that a peaceful transfer of power was possible without a monarch.
- The 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln, who ultimately liberated millions of slaves and ensured that the country would still extend south of the Mason-Dixon line. (Although sixteen years later, much of Lincoln’s work was undone by Rutherford B. Hayes.)
- The 1932 election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who pushed through an extraordinary amount of legislation, from new banking and stock market regulations to unemployment relief, that may have saved the country from collapse.
- The 2016 election of Donald Trump, who presented voters with maybe the starkest choice in American history.