Myth or Fact: How True Are These Popular ‘One Vote’ Statements?

Chances are that you’ve stumbled upon these ‘one vote’ claims a dozen times by now. After all, whenever there is an election, there always will be one candidate that will add at least 2 or 3 of those into his speeches. Are they true though? Was Hitler indeed, won the Nazi leadership by one vote? Or was English prevailed German as America’s official language by just one vote?

Let’s find out but first, let’s see some of the most common ones.

  • In 1645, ONE VOTE gave the control of England to Oliver Cromwell
  • In 1649, ONE VOTE decided that Charles I of England was to be executed
  • In 1776, ONE VOTE gave America the English language instead of German
  • In 1845, ONE VOTE added Texas into the Union
  • In 1875, ONE VOTE replaced France’s monarchy to a republic
  • In 1923, ONE VOTE helped Adolf Hitler gain the leadership of the Nazi Party
  • In 1941, ONE VOTE saved Selective Service, a few weeks before the Pearl Harbor attack (the article continues after the ad)

So what do you think? Is there any truth in the above statements?

Well, as it turns out, there’s not; all of the above statements are false that have been used by both politicians and the media in order to impress voters and highlight the importance of voting. The exact origin of these fallacies cannot be easily traced as they date thousands of years ago and can even be found in Greek mythology. According to the legend, when Athens was still named Krekopia, the residents of the city gathered to decide on a new name. Men voted for god Poseidon while women in favor of goddess Athena. Women won by one vote hence the city was named Athens.

For those interested in learning more about the above mentioned claims, here are the facts as sent by email to Ann Landers by Louise E. Hoffman, Ph.D.:

In 1645, ONE VOTE gave the control of England to Oliver Cromwell

In 1645, Oliver Cromwell became leader of the New Model (Puritan) Army, but not of England, which was then in the midst of a civil war. He didn’t establish his own government until 1649 – and then did so in part by expelling opponents from Parliament. It wasn’t primarily votes but strong leadership and military force that established his control.

In 1649, ONE VOTE decided that Charles I of England was to be executed

In 1649, King Charles I of England was executed – but not as a result of a one-vote margin. Cromwell’s soldiers excluded the moderate majority from the House of Commons and shut down the pro-royalist House of Lords entirely; a newly established revolutionary tribunal then tried the king and overwhelmingly condemned him to death.

In 1776, ONE VOTE gave America the English language instead of German

There never was a voting by the Library of Congress to have English or German as the official language of the United State. 

In 1845, ONE VOTE added Texas into the Union

 In 1845, the U.S. Senate passed the convention annexing Texas by two votes (27-25), not one; and it entered into force only after ratification by the Texas Congress and voters.

In 1875, ONE VOTE replaced France’s monarchy to a republic

In 1876, France was not a monarchy; it had become a republic in 1875, by a larger margin. (Its empire had ended in 1870; previous monarchies ended in 1830 and 1848.)

In 1923, ONE VOTE helped Adolf Hitler gain the leadership of the Nazi Party

Hitler acquired dictatorial control of the Nazi Party in 1921, not 1923, and by a party congress vote of 553 to 1 – not exactly a one-vote margin.

In 1941, ONE VOTE saved Selective Service, a few weeks before the Pearl Harbor attack

Even though this was indeed a one vote decisive voting (203 to 202), the amendment just lengthened the service, it didn’t renew it. Even if it had lost, the original act would have remained in force and nothing would have changed.

If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: Popeye’s Love For Spinach Is Based Purely On A Mathematical Error 


Main Article Photo: drbimages / iStock
Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie
Sources: ‘One Vote’ Fallacies