Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Political hoopla - now and .... back then!

Dr. Samuel Austin Cravath was born on 27 Sept. 1836 and died on 20 April 1917.

I am reading his type-written life story.  There is so much that I would like to share that I have decided to give little morsels.  At the top of each of these posts, I shall be putting this little photo that I harvested off the net from a write up about SA Cravath

From out here in India - it seems that the current US Presidential race seems to be going on forever.  Today's news tells us that one of the Republican candidates has folded up his cards - allowing the big-spending front-runner to move forward and challenge Barack Obama.  Money in politics - and big money at that - just begs the question about how accountable any of these men (and the few women involved) are.

Our own dear country of India is awash with political money - with the police seizing money from no less than Raosaheb Shekhawant - who is the son of our head of State - President Prathiba Patil!  Being found with Rs. 10,000,000 in cash at election time he said "I had sought funds from the state Congress Committee for distributing them among 87 party candidates as most of them are women and poor."

So lets go back a 172 years to another era.

Samuel Cravath'a father died when Samuel was only a few months old.  It was thought that he died of malaria after moving from New York to Pennsylvania. His mother remarried, and a few years later the family set out from New York state to start life anew in Oberlin, Ohio - which was where the "frontier" was in those days.   

Samuel Cravath picks up the story telling about his travels in what would have been 1840.

"The campaign of William Henry Harrison for the presidency was at a fever heat at this time. Every little town and cross roads had its flag poles.  Each party was trying to erect a taller pole than its opponent.  Log cabins on wheels followed by a barrell of hard cider were a part of every Whig procession.  "Hurrah for Tippecanoe and Tyler too" was the salutation of nearly every man we met, for northern Ohio was very strongly for the Whig candidate. 

All this band playing, flag raising, marching, hurrahing and blazing torchlight processions was very exciting to the imagination of children.  We had never seen anything like it, nor indeed had our elders, for it was the first presidential campaign in which such displays ran riot.  We, of course, wanted to shout with the crowds but our step-father, Talcott Kinney, thought it all wrong and a sinful squandering of time, money and energy.  I think he was an Abolitionist at that early day and regarded both Whigs and Democrats as wrong, because both upheld slavery."

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