In 1919, as now, the vice president was a former Indiana governor. Though Mike Pence is Republican and Thomas R. Marshall was a Democrat, there were also some similarities.
For example, Marshall originally turned down Woodrow Wilson’s running mate offer, while Pence strongly considered stepping down as Donald Trump’s running mate in the wake of the “Access Hollywood” scandal. (The Republican National Committee also considered replacing Trump with Pence at the top of the ticket, and adding former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as running mate.)
In this September 1919 article, Marshall suggested that Americans should all come together despite their differences such as wealth gaps.
The old methods of legislation must stop, or the Republic must die. The war, ostensibly if not really, wiped out for us the political, hyphenated American; the war will have been in vain if it shall not also have wiped out for us the hyphenated, economic American, and has not taught us that, from him who has most to him who has least, as the days go by, individual right will grow less and invidual duty will grow larger.
The apocalyptic warning that the country must follow Marshall’s recommendation “or the Republic must die” is a hyperbolic phrasing very unlike the comparatively soft-spoken Pence — but very much like the bombastic rhetoric of Pence’s boss.
The most consequential — or depending on one’s view, least consequential — aspect of Marshall’s eight-year vice president took place the same week this article of his published. On October 2, 1919, President Wilson suffered a debilitating stroke. Wilson’s Secretary of State, as well as both the Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress, wanted Marshall to step in as acting president.
However, since Marshall disagreed with Wilson many policy issues, he was kept in the dark about the true extent of Wilson’s dire condition so that he would not assume any “acting president” responsibilities. Marshall himself never personally met with Wilson during his period of near-incapacitation. It is said that First Lady Edith Wilson in many ways essentially ran the White House and executive branch during this period.
Marshall had a sense of humor about the whole ordeal, sending his successor as vice president Calvin Coolidge a letter of “sincere condolences” for being elected to the position.
The Awakening Middle Class: By Thomas R. Marshall, Vice President of United States
Published: Sunday, October 5, 1919