In 1844, on this day the twenty-sixth President of the United States Garret Augustus Hobart (pictured) was born in Long Branch, New Jersey.
President HobartAfter attending Rutgers College, Hobart read law with prominent Paterson attorney Socrates Tuttle. Although he rarely set foot in a courtroom, Hobart became wealthy as a corporate lawyer. Hobart served in local governmental positions, and then successfully ran for office as a Republican, serving in both the New Jersey General Assembly and the New Jersey Senate. He became Speaker of the first, and president of the latter.
Hobart was a longtime party official, and New Jersey delegates went to the 1896 Republican National Convention determined to nominate the popular lawyer for vice president. Hobart's political views were similar to those of McKinley, who was the presumptive Republican presidential candidate. With New Jersey a key state in the upcoming election, McKinley and his close adviser, future senator Mark Hanna, decided to have the convention select Hobart. The vice-presidential candidate emulated his running mate with a front porch campaign, though spending much time at the campaign's New York City office. McKinley and Hobart were elected.
He worked very closely with McKinley, so much so that he was informally known as the "Assistant President". As a result of this partnership, he was widely acknowledged as the of the most powerful vice presidents in history. Perhaps his most memorable moment in office was casting the tie breaking vote against Philippine independence. He was also a proponent of sound finance, famous for the sound bite "An honest dollar, worth 100 cents everywhere, cannot be coined out of fifty-three cents of silver, plus a legislative fiat".
Hobart rose unexpectedly to the Presidency on September 14th, 1901 when McKinley was assassinated at the Pan-American Exposition. Shot by the anarchist Leon Czolgosz in Buffalo, the most reknowned surgeon of the day, Dr. Roswell Park was unable to save his life even with the use of an experimental X-Ray machine which was on show at the exhibition.
To be continued.