In 1884 Republican James G. Blaine came within 1,047 votes of becoming the President of the United States. This was the margin by which he lost New York State—and thus the election—to Grover Cleveland in what has been called “the dirtiest campaign in American history.”
Yet his career—arguably the most sensational of any American politician of the so-called Gilded Age—did not end there. He was twice U.S. secretary of state, credited with having started our country on the path to acting like a world power, a powerful speaker of the house in Congress, and a United States senator from his adopted State of Maine.
He was also, in the eyes of his opponents, “The Continental Liar From the State of Maine” or “Slippery Jim”—a sort of “amiable Tricky Dick Nixon,” as he’s been later called. Continue reading