No matter what your political party or persuasion, as the presidential election nears, you likely grow weary of the soundbites, name calling and mudslinging. Luckily, you can take a break from the current election and visit some of the previous presidential races from this country’s history, from the first in 1788-1789 that elected George Washington (and yes, it did span two years due to the newness of our political structure and the cumbersome selection of electors and counting of their votes) to the election of this nation’s first African-American president in 2008. All you need is your library card.
The online reference work American Presidential Campaigns and Elections, one of the many databases available at your library’s digital branch, is a dynamic resource with primary source documents (speeches, maps, interviews, etc.), analyses of individual campaigns and elections, detailed biographical profiles of candidates and more.
View campaign buttons from 1896. See political cartoons from as early as 1804. Read speeches from your favorite candidates. There is still plenty of mudslinging and name calling to be had, but with the distance history provides, seeing the evolution of our country through the lens of our presidential campaigns is a fascinating and educational vacation from our current political climate.