Most Prominent Politicians (IX): New Hampshire
New Hampshire’s list is very weak. Basically, it’s suffered from being a very small state bordering the state with probably the most prestigious list, Massachusetts. If you created a list of political figures born in New Hampshire, it would be a lot more impressive. New Hampshire also suffers from a history of not reelecting people much. Nonetheless, here we go:
1. Franklin Pierce. One of our worst presidents, served from 1853-57
2. Levi Woodbury, Senator, Supreme Court justice, 1845-51, leading Democratic figure of the Jacksonian period. Secretary of the Navy, 1831-34, Secretary of the Treasury, 1834-41. Given that Woodbury was Secretary of the Treasury during the Panic of 1837, this probably isn’t something to be too proud of. But in New Hampshire, it’s as good as it gets.
3. H. Styles Bridges, Senator, 1937-61, Senate Minority Leader, 1952-53. Reactionary Republican who thought FDR and the CIO were communists. 2 time Chairman of Appropriations Committee.
4. David Souter. Supreme Court justice, 1990-2009
5. Warren Rudman, Senator, 1980-93, best known for his leadership on economic policy.
6. Jacob Gallinger, Senator 1891-1918. Fairly well-respected Republican insider of the late Gilded Age and into the Progressive Era, but really pretty nondescript.
7. John Sununu, Sr., Governor, 1983-89; Chief of Staff for President George H.W. Bush
8. Henry Keyes, Senator, 1919-37. Did virtually nothing, but did serve longer than almost any New Hampshire Senator.
We’re going to end it here, because to go to a top 10 for New Hampshire is an exercise in just randomly picking people at this point. There probably is some governor who passed something important in the 1880s or something, but I’m no expert on New Hampshire. And I have a lot of trouble believing that Judd Gregg really belongs on this list.