Do you really think you do not matter? How much influence can one have on a few, even millions?
Our history is replete with specific instances when the future was changed by the action of one human becoming incredible. Many of us are facing an opportunity to vote in a couple of weeks in local elections. Take a moment and look over these excerpts from the folks at Learn.USA entitled “The Relevancy of One Vote”; and reconsider the real value of your one vote.
- In 1645, one vote gave Oliver Cromwell control of England.
- In 1649, one vote literally cost King Charles I of England his head. The vote to behead him was 67 against and 68 for — the ax fell thanks to one vote.
- In 1714, one vote placed King George I on the throne of England and restored the monarchy.
- In 1800, the Electoral College met in the respective states to cast their two votes for President. At that time, the U.S. Constitution provided the candidate receiving the most electoral votes would become President and the candidate receiving the second highest number of votes would become Vice President. When the results of the Electoral College votes were opened by both houses of Congress, there was a tie vote for President between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. That threw the election of President into the House of Representatives where Thomas Jefferson was elected our third president by a one vote margin.
- In 1824, none of the four Presidential candidates received an electoral majority. The election was sent to the House of Representatives, where John Quincy Adams defeated front-runner Andrew Jackson by one vote to become the nation’s 6th president. Andrew Jackson received the majority of the nation’s popular vote (no hanging chads there my friends).
- In 1868, one vote in the U.S. Senate saved President Andrew Johnson from impeachment.
- In 1875, a one vote margin changed France from a monarchy to a republic.
- In 1876, no presidential contender received a majority of electoral votes so the determination of the country’s president was again thrown into the U.S. House of Representatives. By a one vote margin, Rutherford B. Hayes became the new U.S. president. When Tilden’s party protested the tabulation and demanded a recount, Congress established a 15-member electoral commission to again count the electoral votes and declare the result. By an eight to seven margin— again, one vote — the commission affirmed the count and gave the election and presidency to Hayes.
- In 1889, by a one vote margin, Washington was admitted to statehood with the union.
- In 1916, if presidential hopeful Charles E. Hughes had received one additional vote in each of California’s precincts, he would have defeated President Woodrow Wilson’s re-election bid.
- On November 8, 1923, members of the then recently formed revolutionary political party met to elect a leader in a Munich, Germany beer hall. By a majority of one vote, they chose an ex-soldier named Adolph Hitler to become the NAZI Party leader.
- In 1948, a Texas convention voted for Lyndon B. Johnson over ex-Governor Coke Stevens in a contested Senatorial election. Lyndon Johnson because U.S. Senator by a one vote margin.
- In the 1960 presidential election, an additional one vote per precinct in Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, and Texas may have altered the course of America’s modern history
by denying John F. Kennedy the presidency and placing Richard Nixon in the White House eight years earlier.
- In 1962, the governors of Maine, Rhode Island, and North Dakota were all elected by a margin of one vote per precinct ( Notice these are not large population centers either).
Now to bring us “back to the future”. I spend a good bit of my time with young folks in my church and the local youth sport leagues. About 15 years ago, at one weekend retreat for about 500 teenagers sponsored by my church, an associate professor from Southern Methodist University shared his research on peer pressure amongst teens. It was a spell binding hour-long presentation from which I will share one anecdote on the Power of One teenager in Dallas, Texas.
My friend Rob wanted to test his research with a live subject. So he hooked Mike, who was highly regarded at a suburban high school, to conduct a one day trial. Let it be known that this young man was a senior and B.M.O.C. aka Big Man On Campus (i.e.- starting QB, Homecoming King, and Senior Class President.) I believe you get the picture. There were negotiations and ultimately Mike agreed that for $100 he would perform the test. Simply put, he was to wear a pair of Sears “no name pocket” jeans to school all day. Yes the $100 was below market rate when considering the potential damage to his reputation; but he made a commitment. By the way, Rob, the associate Professor, had to buy the jeans.
So the appointed day had arrived. Mike drove himself to school so there was little chance of being spotted on a bus. He snuck into his first class and sat in the rear. In his second class, he was forced to sit up front as he forgot that he was part of a team presentation! Yes, the proverbial cat was out of the bag now. The day wore on (I couldn’t resist). It was a Friday. By the following Tuesday, the Sears at the local mall had sold out of the lowly “off brand” jeans. Mike unwittingly had started a fad.
Truly amazing when we are under the influence of being Raised to the Power of One. You can make a difference and may not even know you are doing so. Go ahead and pull that lever on November 8. Your vote could be the One.
Do you have an amazing vignette to tell about someone who Rose to the Power of One…that made a seemingly insignificant gesture at work or in your neighborhood and forever changed events? Is this something we could share to boost others during these tired times? After all, in order to lift up another, you have to be above the rest to be Raised to the Power of One!