The Machinery of Democracy

Informal institutions and activities not actually spelled out in the Constitution help make America’s participatory political system possible. State and national parties, nomination and ratification conventions, and intense and elaborate campaigns are examples of the informal processes Americans have adopted that give life and form to the ideas in the Constitution.

Campaign marcher

Detail from tintype of marcher with oil cloth cape, 1860

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Log cabin parade prop, 1840

Model log cabin hoisted on a pole and carried in parades by supporters of William Henry Harrison during the 1840 presidential campaign

Gift of Ralph E. Becker Collection of Political Americana

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