Today in History
140 years ago today, another historic election was held in Louisiana. On November 2, 1868, John Willis Menard was elected to the House of Representatives, representing the second congressional district of Louisiana. Mr. Menard was an African-American, making him the first man of color ever elected to Congress. The man who he defeated, Caleb Hunt, contested the results which lead to the House Committee on Elections nullifying the results and declaring the seat vacant. Mr. Menard pointed to evidence of voter fraud in the lower wards of New Orleans. He eventually managed to address the Committee on the House floor in January 1869; becoming the first African-American ever to speak on the floor of the House. Will history repeat itself in 2008?
With one day to go before the nation goes to the polls, many, especially democrats, are anticipating a result of national historic consequence. In this context, we cannot lose sight of the fact that this entire election cycle has been historic.
Obviously, should Barack Obama become president, he will be the first person of color ever elected to the presidency. Should John McCain be elected president, he will be the oldest person ever elected to the office. In addition, a McCain win will bring the first female vice-president in our history. This election cycle also brought us the first legitimate major party candidacies of a woman (Hilary Clinton) and of a Latino (Bill Richardson). For this election, there will be 153 million registered voters. That is almost 73.5% of the eligible electorate – another historic high. Astoundingly, there will be about 10 million early ballots cast.
Independent of the results, history will be made tomorrow. We cannot ignore the sweeping change that has engulfed this country. Sit back and enjoy it. This is some thing that one day you can talk to your grandchildren about.