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In the late 1940s Charles Evans Hughes agreed to be interviewed for my college thesis on the presidential election of 1916, during which he had been the Republican nominee. In his letter to me, however, Hughes specified that he would not discuss “the Hiram Johnson incident,” referring to his alleged snub of the Republican governor of California. That event has often been cited as contributing to Hughes’s defeat. His failure to capture the Golden State proved to be the difference in the national race, giving Woodrow Wilson reelection by a thin margin.

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