They Also Ran: The Presidential Hopefuls

The office of the U.S. Presidency is the most coveted in the land, offering the highest recognition to those who claim it. But what about the candidates we never hear about -- the men who also ran and lost?

"The Presidential Hopefuls" is a fascinating look at American politics, and the men who gave the presidents a run for their money, sometimes returning to win a later election. The show highlights military heroes who became candidates, incumbents who lost, and the fluctuating costs of running a campaign.

The biographies featured shed new light on American history and the electoral process. Between 1900 and 1920, for instance, tenacious and undaunted Eugene V. Debs ran for president five times. Candidates have come from over thirty parties, some well-known and some obscure -- such as the Down with Lawyers, the American or "Know-Nothing", and the Greenbacks. In our own recent history, Dr. Benjamin Spock, pediatrician to a whole generation of baby boomers, ran for president in 1972 as a member of the People's Party and the Peace and Freedom Party.

This exhibit explores the often neglected stories behind the candidates that lost through original cartoons, sheet music, and memorabilia. It gives viewers a chance to speculate to what extent history might have been rewritten had another candidate occupied the oval office.