Democratic Outfitting

Political campaigns of the 19th century reflected popular traditions of commemoration and celebration—such as Fourth of July parades—that became familiar to many Americans in the early Republic. The mechanisms of popular politics not specifically called for in the Constitution—parties, nominating conventions, and electoral campaigns—drew freely on the evocative imagery of such festivities in promoting candidates and building the momentum of the campaign. Mass campaign spectacles arose as a way of demonstrating partisan strength and of mobilizing indifferent and easily distracted voters.