By One Vote is a political novel and documentary series written by expert author Carole Eglash-Kosoff. It is a story about 12 significant events in American politics where one vote altered our society, significantly, and set our nation on an entirely different course. While each generation may think it is facing the nation’s worst political and economic times, By One Vote is a poignant and factual story that tells us otherwise. Through the authors detailed and elaborated accounts of history we see what she describes as “The Butterfly Effect,” how one small change at one moment in time can have a large, profound and sweeping effect at a later time. We also begin to see how the political wheel of social justice turns and how it is often turned by just one vote. Written in third person narrative and often explicit first person dialogue, this book is for mature audiences. It is well researched and dedicated to the unsung heroes, the unknowns-not famous men and women of history, who changed the world by having conviction and standing up for what they believed. These people changed the world as much as Roosevelt, Lincoln or Bush.
In 1783 the War of Independence was over. Unpaid soldiers from 13 colonies defeated the 18th Century’s most dominant world power, The United Kingdom. It was no contest that General George Washington would become the first President of the United States, however, establishing new rules for running a country was no easy task; even the location for a central government was highly disputed. At a New York tavern, Alexander Hamilton and Robert Morris from the Federalist Party met privately with two leading Republicans, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. If Hamilton gets his financial package passed they will see that Jefferson gets the national capitol built along the Potomac River, near Virginia and Maryland. Until completed, the temporary capitol location would stay in the “City of Brotherly Love,” Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The deal was sealed. Jefferson and Madison began encouraging southern states to vote for Hamilton’s financial or Assumption Act and Robert Morris changed his vote for the Residency Act to pass in favor of the District of Columbia. All hinged on that one vote.
Later in the election of 1800, Thomas Jefferson is running against Aaron Burr and there’s a deadlock; the nation experiences its first Constitutional crisis. Jefferson meets with James Bayard and assures him he won’t replace the people who have worked so hard within his party, if he is elected. Also, in a strange twist, Alexander Hamilton wants Jefferson, his long time arch enemy on the political front, to win this election. On Feb 17, 1800, James Bayard lowers his loud Federalist voice and changes his vote from Aaron Burr to blank. The deadlock is broken and Jefferson becomes President, doubling the size of the country with the Louisiana Purchase and dispatching the Lewis and Clark Expedition to seek a northwest passageway to the Pacific Ocean. Aaron Burr believes Alexander Hamilton has attacked his honor. He challenges Hamilton to a duel, ultimately killing him with a bullet to his lower abdomen. The Federalist voice is greatly diminished.
In 1868, Articles of Impeachment against President Andrew Johnson were approved by the House of Representatives. Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States. After his assassination, Johnson took the Presidency. He reversed and vetoed many of Lincoln’s legislation including the Freedman’s Federal Program to help slaves and the Civil Rights Act. Johnson also fired Lincoln’s popular Secretary of War. Edmund Ross would have the deciding vote on the Impeachment of Johnson. It would not come to pass because no one wanted Benjamin Wade to become the next President. Instead, General Ulysses S. Grant took the Presidency in the next election.
Almost a decade later, Rutherford B. Hayes is the Republican nominee who will continue Home Rule and ensure racial equality in the old Confederacy. Southern Democrats hate Republicans and want to end Home Rule. If elected, Samuel Tilden will destroy every multiracial institution in existence and there will be no protection for blacks; sharecropping will continue to enslave blacks as indentured servants. Justice Daniel Davis was to cast the critical vote of the Electoral Committee. When Davis realizes he no longer has independence from candidates Hayes and Tilden, he resigns. Justice Joseph Bradley is appointed to take his place and will cast his deciding vote for Hayes. Rutherford B. Hayes accepts the Presidency, but, it’s bittersweet. His cabinet has convinced him he must make changes to appease the South. He accepts The Devil’s Compromise. Against his belief system and moral focus he ends Home Rule and withdraws Union troops from the South. Education for the Negro and other Federal Programs disappeared completely leaving them to face decades of fear and intimidation. Their economic slavery continued well into the 20th Century.
In each chapter of this historical novel we see how the vote of one person continues to shape the lives of millions of people. The Treaty of Paris passed in 1896 by one vote, that of Senator Stephen White. The Philippine Islands, home to seven million people, would not be free for another half century and two world wars. The Filipinos were outraged; they wanted their freedom, now! Affirmative Action cases were weighted for a quarter of a century, from the 1970’s to 2003. It was a period of social unrest and Justices were vexed as to the right thing to do about university admissions and job selection. Finally, social justice prevailed by one vote, that of Justice Blackman. And Sandra Day O’Connor in the year 2000, faced a complicated social issue, eventually, securing a woman’s right to choose by her one vote. The Flag Protection Act of 1989 saw many court battles before becoming part of our patriotic legislation. There continues to be ongoing religious disputes about constitutional freedom of speech. And, the resentment of the Cubans residing in Florida helped place a dark horse like George W. Bush into the White House. A nation was mesmerized by the case of Elian Gonzales, an orphaned boy from Cuba seeking refuge in the United States. Democrats floundered in helping Elian so Cubans living in Florida retaliated and voted for Bush.
While author, Carole Eglash-Kosoff, has thoroughly researched and documented these 12 accounts of one vote events that changed the course of History, we can rest assured one vote continues to change the course of our nation, even now, within the Obama Administration. We’ve just recently seen how one vote ensured 35 million Americans medical coverage they did not previously have. We can see from these events that the American vote is here to stay and allows us a way to disagree without having to fight a war over every dispute. It allows us to resolve complex issues in a humane way as we strive to build a better society for all American citizens.
Author Carole Eglash-Kosoff, is a UCLA graduate, a teacher, a writer and a world traveler. She has three previous books to her credit and does not shy away from the tough subjects writing about the Apartheid of South Africa, War, Reconstruction in the South and Racism. Mostly she writes stories about the human spirit and hope. Her first book was titled, The Human Spirit-Apartheid’s Unheralded Heroes. Then she wrote Winds of Change and When Stars Align, both stories of mixed race love. By One Vote is her fourth book destined to become a 12-part documentary series. In my opinion, this is a book for any historian or history buff as it is fact-laden and an accurate account of some of our country’s most defining moments in history. This title is also well-suited for anyone who would like a down-to-earth account of our country’s history and voting system, complete with how the current electoral system came into existence. By One Vote reveals to us a unique perspective of our History and shows us in detail just how important our one vote can be.