From Henry Clay to Barry Goldwater and Shirley Chisholm, our failed presidential contenders can still inspire us with their legacies.
There was widespread fraud, especially in the swing state of Florida. We are talking, of course, about 1876.
Lincoln came out a victor in the 1860 presidential election despite winning only 2 percent of the Southern vote
As we approach the bicentennial of his birth, leading historians look at the man and his achievements
In their surprisingly short history, presidential debates have never lived up to our expectations—yet they’ve always proved invaluable
It was never designed to actually elect a President, it’s awkward, cumbersome, and confusing, and almost no one likes it. Americans have been trying to get rid of it for more than two centuries. Yet it’s still here. Now we are seeing renewed efforts to reform or eliminate the Electoral College. Will they succeed? Don’t bet on it.
When John Adams was elected President, and Thomas Jefferson Vice President, each came to see the other as a traitor. Out of their enmity grew our modern political system.
When the two parties gather to select their candidates, the proceedings will be empty glitz, with none of the import of old-time conventions. Or will they?
… or why in America campaign-finance reform never succeeds
The two-party system, undreamt of by the founders of the Republic, has been one of its basic shaping forces ever since their time
Most of our Presidents have been avid athletes, even Taft. Could a party safely nominate an overweight and unabashed couch potato who scorned exercise?
Seeking the truth of an event in the memories of the people who lived it can be a maddening task—and an exhilarating one
The disputed election of "His Fraudulency" Rutherford B. Hayes ended the era of Reconstruction.
A year ago we were in the midst of a presidential campaign most memorable for charges by both sides that the opponent was not hard enough, tough enough, masculine enough. That he was, in fact, a sissy. Both sides also admitted this sort of rhetoric was deplorable. But it’s been going on since the beginning of the Republic.
Every presidential election is exciting when it happens. Then the passing of time usually makes the outcome seem less than crucial. But after more than a century and a quarter, the election of 1860 retains its terrible urgency.
To keep Upton Sinclair from becoming governor of California in 1934, his opponents invented a whole new kind of campaign
The distasteful questions we ask our presidential hopefuls serve a real purpose
It took place in 1948, and it was orchestrated—with difficulty—by the program director of a faltering Portland, Oregon, radio station. He persuaded two Republican candidates to argue formally about an actual issue with no intervening moderator.
Here is how political cartoonists have sized up the candidates over a tumultuous half-century.
The ground rules have changed drastically since 1789. Abigail Adams, stifled in her time, would have loved being First Lady today.
A noted historian argues that television, a relative newcomer, has nearly destroyed old—and valuable—political traditions
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
A former British ambassador and noted historian explains why "hard-headed self-possessed Americans go so wild with excitement at election times"
United States policy, Henry Wallace said in his spirited challenge to Truman and Dewey in 1948, should be
What strange vehicle could accommodate a crew as disparate as this? Hint: In any election year they’re all