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U.S. Presidential Campaigns: The more things change…

Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2


Contemporary U.S. presidential elections appear to bear little resemblance to the campaigns of the early Republic. Candidates are now vocal and centre-stage rather than silent and remote; coverage - on media then hardly imaginable - is instantaneous and international; expenditure has increased exponentially; and the results have an impact not only upon Americans but citizens around the world.

However, campaign materials of the nineteenth and early twentieth century assure us that fundamentally much remains the same. National issues are addressed - yet still they must compete for attention with coverage of the candidate's character and private life; parties continue to compete vigorously for media coverage and editorial support; the lampooning of candidates by cartoonists still abounds; and disputes over results are nothing new.

This exhibition includes campaign pamphlets, biographies, text books, and cartoons that illustrate many of these themes. The printed items displayed here represent a small selection of the US election materials held at the British Library.

Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2

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