Getting the Nomination | Campaigning
Hats Off to Politics

Barry Goldwater campaign poster

The promotion of candidates among an expanding electorate placed increasing importance upon the success of popular political campaigns. With the development of a competitive party system came the development of expendable campaign items in the form of banners, badges, buttons, ribbons, and advertising novelties. Politics drew freely on the evocative imagery of popular culture in promoting candidates and building the momentum of the campaign participation and involvement. These campaign objects represent the confluence of American popular culture and politics and presume a high level of personal involvement.

This mechanical rooster is from the late 19th century. Along with the donkey, the rooster was a popular symbol of the Democratic Party into the early 20th century. Eventually the donkey won out and became the dominant emblem for the party.
This child's rocker was made for the 1964 presidential campaign. The elephant became the unofficial symbol of the Republican Party in the late 19th century.
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National Museum of American History