How To Keep Political Campaigns Exciting for Modern Voters

In the beginning and right before election day, political campaigns are exciting. However, in “the middle,” things can lull. During these times, campaign teams must work hard to keep voters engaged about their political platforms and candidates they represent. Growing and maintaining this enthusiasm can help you achieve long-term and far-reaching success, regardless of the[…]

The Latest on the Failed United States Coup Attempt

We’re just a few days removed from the attempt by outgoing President Donald Trump’s supporters to take over the US Capital. Thousands of insurrectionists, some of them heavily armed, interrupted Congress’s formal declaration that Joe Biden had won the election. Just before chaos erupted, Trump himself gave a speech where he used incendiary terms to[…]

The Devil and Mary Lease in 19th-Century Populism

Lease an anti-Semite who used anti-Jewish tropes and direct anti-Semitic references to stir up her audience. There is a statue of Mary E. Lease in Wichita, Kansas, erected in 2001 by a Kansas women’s club she founded in 1886. As someone active in the push to take down statues and rename places, I have been thinking a[…]

The First Commercial Radio Broadcast of Election Results in 1920

With the advent of radio, the ability of politicians to engage and entertain became crucial components of their candidacies. Introduction Only 100 people were listening, but the first broadcast from a licensed radio station occurred at 8 p.m. on Nov. 2, 1920. It was Pittsburgh’s KDKA, and the station was broadcasting the results of that[…]

Election Night as a Big Media Event since Electric Lights in 1892

Journalists have always wanted to be first to tell the public who won. Introduction As election night approaches, Americans will turn to their televisions, computers and smartphones to watch results come in for local, state and national races. Over the years, news coverage of winners and losers has become must-watch programming – even if it[…]

Contested Presidential Elections since Samuel Tilden in 1876

The elections of 1876, 1888, 1960 and 2000 were among the most contentious in American history. Introduction As states continue to count their ballots in the 2020 election, it seems possible that Democrats and Republicans will end up in court over whether President Trump will win a second term in the White House. President Trump[…]

Looking at the Origins of the Electoral College

Three approaches were debated at the Constitutional Convention: election by Congress, by state legislatures, or a popular vote. Introduction The delegates in Philadelphia agreed, in the summer of 1787, that the new country they were creating would not have a king but rather an elected executive. But they did not agree on how to choose[…]

Measuring Public Opinion from the 17th to 19th Centuries

The prerequisites for the emergence of a public sphere were increasing levels of literacy which was spurred on by the Reformation. Introduction The term public opinion was derived from the French opinion publique which was first used in 1588 by Michel de Montaigne in the second edition of his Essays (ch. XXII).[1] The French term[…]

Voter Intimidation in the 19th Century and Its Legacy

Voters were threatened and even physically forced to vote a particular way. Introduction Author Edgar Allan Poe, the 19th-century master of American macabre, may have died of dirty politics. According to legend, a gang of party “poll hustlers” kidnapped and drugged him. They forced him to vote, then abandoned him near death. Details are murky,[…]

American Election Campaigns in the 19th Century

Political parties in the 19th century thought of themselves as armies – disciplined, hierarchical fighting organizations. Introduction In the 19th century, a number of new methods for conducting American election campaigns developed in the United States. For the most part the techniques were original, not copied from Europe or anywhere else.[2] The campaigns were also[…]

A Brief History of Voting since the Early Republic

African Americans, women, Native Americans, and citizens between the ages of 18 and 21 had to fight for the right to vote in this country. The Founders and the Vote In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.” But how[…]

Garfield, Harrison, McKinley, and the Legacy of the Front Porch Campaign

At the beginning of the 1880s, Democratic and Republicans candidates observed a tradition of reserve and silence during campaigns. Since gaining a decisive lead in the Democratic primaries, Joe Biden has faced a situation unique in contemporary politics: while preparations for the upcoming general campaign are underway, the candidate himself is locked up at home.[…]

American Politicos and the Weaponization of Conspiracy Theories in the 19th Century

Rumors of secret alliances, bank deals, and double-crossings were rampant in early American elections. From claims that NASA faked the moon landing to suspicions about the U.S. government’s complicity in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Americans love conspiracy theories. Conspiratorial rhetoric in presidential campaigns and its distracting impact on the body politic have been[…]

The Aftermath of Watergate: An Historical Overview

Looking at the consequences of President Nixon’s actions and how the public viewed our governmental policies afterwards. By K. Chouinard / 11.03.2017 In the early 1970’s, the Watergate scandal involving President Richard Nixon made headlines nationwide, but did he have anything to do with the break in at the Democratic National Committee? Even with the lack of[…]

Watergate: The Undoing of a President

Nixon had a strong “us v. them” mentality. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate On June 17, 1972, five men were arrested after breaking into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee located in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. The burglars were not ordinary thieves. They carried wiretaps to install on telephones. They carried cameras to photograph documents.[…]

South Asian Activism in 19th- and 20th-Century British and Indian Politics

From the suffragette Sophia Duleep Singh to the Communist MP Shapurji Saklatvala: explore the lives of notable South Asians in 19th and 20th century British and Indian politics.      By (left-to-right) Dr. Susheila Nasta, Dr. Florian Stadtler, and Dr. Rozina Visram Nasta: Chair in Modern Literature, The Open University Stadtler: Senior Lecturer in Postcolonial Literatures, University[…]

A History of the Populist ‘People’s Party’, 1891-1908

William Jennings Bryan during the 1896 campaign for U.S. president / U.S. Information Agency, Wikimedia Commons For a few years, this party played a major role as a force in American politics. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 11.09.2018 Public Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction The People’s Party (also known as the Populist Party or the Populists) was an agrarian-populist political party in the[…]

Nativists and Philadelphia’s Anti-Catholic Riots of 1844

From “A full and complete account of the late awful riots in Philadelphia : embellished with ten engravings”, part of Villanova’s Falvey Memorial Library’s Chaos in the Streets! The Philadelphia Riots of 1844 collection / Creative Commons Fights over guns, immigration, and religious intolerance cost the city dozens of lives, millions of dollars, and a little bit of our humanity.[…]

Voting and Civic Participation in Ancient Athens

The Acropolis of Athens. Dominating the acropolis is the Parthenon, built between 447 and 432 BCE in the Age of Pericles, and dedicated to the city’s patron deity Athena. / Photo by Mark Cartwright, Creative Commons Ancient Athenians actively served in the institutions that governed them, and so they directly controlled all parts of the political process. By Mark Cartwright / 04.03.2018 Historian[…]

Adolf Hitler and ‘Nationalism’

Adolf Hitler and his entourage take a stroll in Paris on June 23, 1940 / German Federal Archives, Wikimedia Commons Examining Adolf Hitler’s conceptualization of Nationalism – the Nation and who, in Hitler’s thinking, comprises it. By John Cai Benjamin Weaver / 05.16.2011 Doctoral Candidate, Department of Political and Economic Studies University of Helsinki Adolf[…]

Ostracism as a Political Process in Ancient Greece

Pottery ostraka identifying Themistocles, 482 BCE. These were used in Athens to vote a particular citizen to be ostracised from the polis. From a well on the north slope of the acropolis of Athens. (Museum of the Ancient Agora, Athens) / Photo by Mark Cartwright, Creative Commons Ostracism was the supreme example of the power of the ordinary people, the demos, to combat abuses of[…]

Henry David Thoreau: Founding Father of American Libertarian Thought

This  great writer, great naturalist, and great advocate of self-reliant individualism was also one of the founding fathers of American libertarian thought. By Jeff Riggenbach / 07.15.2010 Henry David Thoreau was born David Henry Thoreau on July 12, 1817, in Concord, Massachusetts, a small country town about 20 miles northwest of Boston. Nancy Rosenblum of the[…]

How Women Won the Right to Vote in 19th-Century Colorado

(Left-to-right) Carrie Clyde Holly, Clara Cresshingham and Frances Klock They had to convince a majority of men in the state, not just legislators, that they should share political power with women. By Dr. Jennifer Frost / 10.14.2018 Associate Professor of History University of Auckland “Western Women Wild With Joy Over Colorado’s Election,” journalist and suffragist Caroline[…]

Oligarchy, Tyranny, and Democracy in Ancient Greece

Ostraka for Ostracism / Museum of the Ancient Agora, Wikimedia Commons Although the Greek city-states differed in size and natural resources, they came to share certain fundamental political institutions and social traditions. By Dr. Thomas R. Martin Jeremiah W. O’Connor, Jr. Professor of  Classics College of the Holy Cross Introduction Although the Greek city-states differed in[…]