A prominent name in U.S. politics in the early 19th century, Hugh Lawson White was a former Tennessee state supreme court justice and eventual U.S. senator.
In an era of stern gentlemen, he was a particularly austere personality with hardcore constructionist views on judicial interpretation and states' rights.
In the 1836 election, the emerging Whig party decided to try something a little different. Rather than back a single candidate, the party put forth multiple candidates, each of whom was to run a regional campaign, banking on their respective local popularity.
White was one of four Whig candidates, along with William Henry Harrison, Willie Mangum and Daniel Webster. The idea was to win a majority in the Electoral College, then decide on the presidential ticket later.
The Whig strategy didn't work, and it's maybe just as well. Had White been installed in the Oval Office, America would surely have had its most anal-retentive president ever.
When he was serving in the Senate, White considered it his duty to attend every single Senate speech and meeting, and he was known to arrive at the Capitol building in the wee hours of the morning and stay late into the night.
Punctuality was something of a passion for White, and his pocket watch is on display in a Tennessee museum.
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