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Today is Levi P. Morton’s birthday.

Few will care, and most people have never heard of him.

He was the 22nd Vice President of the United States, the first VP to President Benjamin Harrison of Ohio.

Ben had two, more on that in a few…

Born in Vermont, a PK, he grew UP there and planned on a business career.  He started by clerking in stores, relocated to New York City and became a banker.

Politics called.

He was Conkling Crony and was elected to two terms in the US House of Representatives.

In 1880, James A. Garfield pulled a Palin on the Party and tapped him for the second banana slot in an effort to win over the Conkling folks who were still smarting that their choice to lead the party had lost out to Garfield.

Morton declined the offer paving the way for Chester A. Arthur.

After Garfield won, he offered the plum position of Minister Plenipotentiary to France to Morton.  Morton jumped at the chance to spend a few years on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

In 1888, Morton accepted the offer for the Veep slot when Benjamin Harrison reached out to him.

They won.

But, all didn’t go well.

His big failure was the Lodge Bill.  The bill was an election law which would enforce the voting rights of African Americans in the South.  Morton was played “like a piano” by the Senate Democrats opposed to black suffrage and seemingly did “…little to support the bill against a Democratic filibuster…”

Harrison was ticked.

Harrison believed Morton showed too much favoritism to the “opposition party” and bumped him from the ticket.

Harrison then tapped Whitelaw Reid to replace Morton and lost to Grover Cleveland making Cleveland the first Democrat to be elected since the end of the Civil War.

Morton became the Governor of New York in 1895.

After his public service he became a real estate investor and got seriously rich!

His claim to fame, other than being booted from the ticket, is that he was the second longest living Vice President; he died on his 96th birthday in 1920.

I could find no surviving quotes.

His legacy is abysmal: there is a town named for him in Illinois.

Seriously, that’s it, well other than those righteous side-burns.

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