Henry Clay. Al Smith. Thomas E. Dewey. Their names probably prompt hazy recollections of high school history class – but not much else. By missing out on the presidency, many would say they lost their place in history, too. But even those who didn't take the oath on Inauguration Day had their impact. Here are five great examples from Scott Farris's new book 'Almost President: The Men Who Lost the Race but Changed the Nation.'
Called "too great to be president" by The New York Times, Clay was largely responsible for the brokerings of peace that occurred in 1820, 1832, and 1850 and that (temporarily) kept America from civil war. Still resentful of his loss to Andrew Jackson, Clay also created the Whig Party, which was a challenger to Jackson's Democratic Party and paved the way for the dominance of a two-party system in American politics.
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