The Monthly Editorial Blog By Schlafly Beer Co-Founder Tom Schlafly
The City of St. Louis formally seceded from St. Louis County in 1876. At the time it was the fourth largest city in the United States, after New York, Philadelphia and Brooklyn. Chicago was right behind in fifth place. By 1880, when the next census was taken, Chicago had moved into fourth place. St. Louis had fallen back to sixth place and would never again rival Chicago in population.
Sixty-eight years later, on October 28, 1948, my mother, Adelaide Mahaffey Schlafly, checked into St. John’s Hospital in St. Louis and went into labor at 8:00 a.m. Central Standard Time. Within an hour, Mary Tyrrell Cullerton checked into St. Anne’s Hospital in Chicago and went into labor at 8:40 a.m. Although my mother in St. Louis had a head start, Mary Cullerton, in true Chicago fashion, surged ahead. John James Cullerton, Jr. was born at 9:37 a.m., while Thomas Francis Schlafly didn’t arrive until 9:38 a.m. Once again, Chicago had won the race despite an early lead by St. Louis. Alert readers (ARs) will note that John and I are closer in age than nearly all sets of twins, perhaps even some Siamese twins.
ARs from Illinois may recognize John’s name and know that he’s the president of the Illinois State Senate. He’s also a partner in the Chicago office of my law firm, Thompson Coburn. A few years ago we found ourselves discussing our shared birth date over Schlafly Pale Ale at one of the firm dinners. Energized by this conversation, we both managed to locate copies of our respective birth certificates to determine exactly when each of us was born. Unlike the incumbent president of the United States (another lawyer from Chicago), John readily made a copy of his birth certificate available, thus allowing me to do some important research for this column.
Although February is when the United States celebrates Presidents Day, only four US presidents were actually born in this month: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, William Henry Harrison and Ronald Reagan. October, when John and I were born, is the birth month of six American presidents: John Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Chester Arthur, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter. For the record, this is more than any other month.
At the time when John and I were born in our respective hospitals approximately 300 miles apart, no US president had been born in a hospital. Since that time there have been four presidents who were born in hospitals: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
In the history of the United States, 25 of the 44 presidents have been lawyers, like John and me. Four of them have served in our lifetime: Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Of these four, three gave up their licenses to practice law for one reason or another: Nixon, Clinton and Obama. Lyndon Johnson enrolled at Georgetown Law School (my alma mater) in 1934, but dropped out during his first year.
As of now, no one knows who the 45th president of the United States will be. We do know, however, that his or her path to the White House will begin and end in places where Schlafly Beer is currently available: Iowa and Washington, DC. It’s also worth noting that the electoral votes of states (and the District of Columbia) where Schlafly is sold amount to two-thirds of the total needed to win the election. In fact, going back to the first presidential election in 1788, no president has ever been elected without receiving electoral votes from a state where Schlafly is now available.
Actually, that’s not exactly true. ARs who are well versed in American history will undoubtedly know that no one was elected by electoral votes in the election of 1824, which was decided in the House of Representatives, not in the electoral college. All four candidates in that race—John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, William Harris Crawford and Andrew Jackson—received electoral votes from states where Schlafly is now sold. Jackson won a plurality of the popular vote and in the electoral college, but fell short of a majority. For the only time in American history the election was decided by the House of Representatives, with each state having one vote. Clay made a deal with Adams and dropped out of the race. The three remaining candidates—Adams, Crawford and Jackson—all received the votes of at least two states where Schlafly is now available. John Quincy Adams prevailed by winning the votes of 13 of the 25 states then in the Union. Six of these 13 were states where one can now buy Schlafly: Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New York and Ohio.
With the campaign for the 2016 election getting underway, President Obama has not yet announced what he plans to do when he leaves office in two years. If he decides to stay in Washington, DC, where he has spent the past decade, he can take comfort in knowing that he’ll have ready access to Schlafly Beer. Ditto for New York City, where he received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University, one of the contenders for his presidential library. There’s some speculation that he might move back to Chicago, the city where he got his start in politics and where he taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago, another contender for his presidential library.
If Obama, who’s known to appreciate good beer, does in fact move back to Chicago, he’ll find that the beer scene has changed considerably since he left town. For one thing, Schlafly is now available in the Windy City. For another, Goose Island, which had been the largest American-owned brewery in Chicago, has since been sold to a Brazilian conglomerate. The competition among craft brewers to sell to foreign conglomerates is one area where I’m happy to lose to Chicago.