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Sender: Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Mon, 30 Sep 1996 10:35:47 -0500
Reply-To: Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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Organization: Chowan College
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Steve and Jackie,

You would be interested in Mark Twain's declaring himself available as
a candidate for president in 1879.  His basic platform seems to be
one of honesty about his "total depravity," and his only promise is to
depraved.  Therefore, he implies that, unlike other candidates, he is "a
safe man" for the job.  He says he enters the race with an "open
record,"  freely admitting  treeing and  shooting  his rheumatic
grandfather, burying his dead aunt (who needed burying any way) so
that she fertilizes  his gravevine,  and running from the Battle of
Gettysburg  (not, as his friends tried to amend,  leaving in order to
pray but because he preferred that someone else save his country, as
he still  prefers).   As to his views on finance, he does not take
sides between paper and hard money;  he bluntly states his financial
policy,  "The great fundamental principle of my life is to take any kind I
get," and asserts his campaign slogan, "Desiccate the poor
workingman;  stuff him into sausages," for, as is,  poor people are "wasted
raw material,"  but--"cut up and properly canned"--they can usefully
fatten the natives of cannibal islands, with, no doubt, a profit for
American industries.   The Constitution does not forbid anyone
holding these views from being president.  Why should he be the first
to be limited by such prejudices?

This item appears under the title "A Presidential Candidate,"  dated
June 9, 1879,  in volume one of the Library of America book of Mark
Twain's sketches, tales, and essays edited by Louis Budd  (pp. 140-141).
I know that I have read other references by him to the presidency.  I
just happen to have recalled this one when I read your request.  You
will likely receive a number of responses.  Good luck.

John H. Davis
Chowan College