10 Primary Source Documents to Read Before Election Day

10 Primary Source Documents to Read Before Election Day

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Disclaimer: The following is a curated list of primary source documents related to the presidential election throughout history and in no way are intended to reflect a political view or endorsement on the part of Gale or its blog contributors.

1. How Shall We Save Our Presidents?

This article from Liberty Magazine published in 1924 features side by side photos of President Harding with the captions, “President Harding in the glow of robust health.” and And after the strain of his office wrecked his body.”

2. Can You Forecast the Election? Play This Game and See

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This article from Liberty Magazine gave readers the opportunity to test their hand at forecasting the election. You can find a modern equivalent to the Liberty Magazine game here.

3. Democratic Campaign Book Presidential Election 1876

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In an archived copy of the Democratic Campaign Book for the Presidential Election in 1876 you can read about the platform of the Democratic Party in America’s centennial year with issues such as “Sympathy for Cuba,” and a “Third-Term Resolution” that declares a two term limit the “unwritten law of [the] Republic.”

4. What a Man Does When He Wins the Presidency

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You can read a minute by minute account of Herbert Hoover’s activities on the day he was elected president in 1928 in this article from Liberty Magazine.

5. She’s Back

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You can check out the Independent Tabloid‘s take on Hillary Clinton’s influence on Bill Clinton’s Presidential reelection bid in this article published in 1996.

6. When Blowing Your Own Trumpet Pays Off

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This write-up on Donald Trump published in The Daily Mail in 1988 describes Trump’s opulent lifestyle and business acumen under the headings “Profits,” “Famous,” and “Truth.”

7. An Endorsement of William Henry Harrison

The Virginia Free Press issues an endorsement of William Henry Harrison and passive aggressively shames those considering staying home from the polls on election day.

“They are men of intelligence and patriotism; and if, in view of all the evidence of abuse, corruption, and outrage, which we have laid before them from time to time, they can see nothing to stimulate them to action, they can see no cause for recording their votes against the Administration, why, in the name of God, let them remain at home.”

Quotes like this must have been effective because William Henry Harrison easily defeated incumbent Martin Van Buren in the 1840 election. Or maybe it was all due to the wildly popular campaign song Tippecanoe and Tyler too.

8. Why Southern Women Desire the Ballot

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Twenty-five years before the 19th amendment was passed and women gained the constitutional right to vote Women’s Journal asked their readers to answer the question, “Why do you believe that women should have the ballot?”

9. Election Day Comic

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A voter laments the historical lack of diversity on the Presidential ballot in this comic from Sojourner: The Women’s Forum published in February of 1993.

10. Is the Vice President Important?

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This Liberty Magazine article published in 1924 investigates the duties and importance of the Vice President.

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