(29.) ALTON B. PARKER (1852-1926)
Democrat Parker/Henry Davis
Defeated by Theodore Roosevelt/Charles Fairbanks, 1904
Alton B. Parker was chief justice of the New York Court of Appeals, and he thoroughly enjoyed his position, which he held in dignity and with caution. He avoided all attempts to lure him into politics. A morning horseback ride and a swim were his recreation, and his workday ended at midnight.
When sought out for nomination for president, he did not state his opinions on the issues of the day, saying, “I shall not use the dignity of the court to give weight to these.” When drafted for the nomination he laid aside his robes and as a private citizen espoused the issues. He conducted a “front porch” campaign, electioneering courteously and on a high plane.
It is said, if he had been at San Juan Hill in place of his opponent, he would not have bellowed, “Charge”, but would have said, “Gentlemen, shall we proceed?”