The First Hurrah

Presidential candidates stayed above the battle until William Jennings Bryan stumped the nation in 1896; they’ve been in the thick of it ever since

The most confident prediction that can be made about the 1980 presidential campaign is that the nominees will invest enormous energy, time, and money in stumping the country.Read more »

The Harrison Bandwagon

Our forebears were much given to singing. They sang themselves through revolution with “The Liberty Song” and “Yankee Doodle,” and afterward each struggle of the young nation inspired songsters to extol in music and lyric the virtues of freedom. Political songs were also common, so perhaps it is not surprising that the Presidential campaign of 1840 turned into a songfest— at least for the Whig candidate, William Henry Harrison. Read more »

Campaign Banners

Their homely symbols tell us more about voter behavior than party platforms do

Beneath the gaudy exterior and hoopla of American political parades of the nineteenth century is concealed a sober truth about ourselves. The banners used in such parades were designed to convert onlookers to a new political faith or to reinforce existing beliefs.Read more »

The Melancholy Fate Of The Loser

It isn’t every day that one can see a man pushing a peanut with his nose along the main street of an American town. But it is not an impossible sight, either, especially when election wagers are being settled after what ex-President Truman has called our “four-yearly spasm.” Sometimes the penance is performed with an orange or golf ball. Or the loser transports the winner over an agreed-upon route in a baby carriage or handcart. Losers have gamely walked barefoot, been rotten-egged, eaten crow—literally—for their fallible political judgment.Read more »

Rocky’s Road

Who runs the country? Administrative agencies. Who runs the administrative agencies? Well, there was this road they were going to put right through the old Rockefeller place, and …

Late last summer, during Nelson A. Rockefeller’s New York gubernatorial campaign, the Rockefeller family announced their intention that their 4,180-acre Westehester property, Pocantwo Hills, shall be “preserved and dedicated to the public interest. ” However, the estate will remain in the family at least for the lifetime of the current owners: Nelson, Laurance, David, and John D. in.Read more »

The Front Porch Campaign

While Bryan stumped up and down the land, McKinley let the voters come to his lawn in Canton—and they came

In 1896, the depression which had followed the Panic of ’93 was in its third year. Debt, business failure, unemployment, and labor unrest were spreading; to many, revolution seemed just a step away. This was the setting for the bitter presidential contest between Republican William McKinley and Democrat William Jennings Bryan, and the great debate between the advocates of “sound money” and the supporters of the inflationary panacea, free silver.Read more »