A handshake can make all the difference [Letter]

After reading Richard Cross' informative article, "Extending a handshake" (March 12), I remembered "the forgotten handshake" of 1916 described by historian Thomas A. Bailey ("The American Pageant").

According to Professor Bailey, Republican presidential candidate and Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes narrowly lost to incumbent Woodrow Wilson in the presidential campaign of 1916, due in part, to an unintended snub. During the campaign in California, Hughes' managers failed to arrange a meeting between their candidate and California Gov. Hiram W. Johnson while both were in the same hotel. Perhaps, this unintended slight reduced the ardor of Johnson's efforts on behalf of Hughes, for the Republican lost the state of California by 3,773 votes out of 999,781 that were cast. Even though President Wilson had lost the East and Midwest — Democratic strongholds today — victory in the West and especially in California with its 13 electoral votes enabled Mr. Wilson to squeak by in the Electoral College, 277 to 254.

Apparently, a little courtesy can go a long way!

Allan B. Oshry

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