The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

The Past in the Present: Election Day

As evidenced in this 1798 cartoon, politcs in America have always been contentious. To mark Election Day the MHS offers a retrospective of items from our blog and across our website related to American electoral history. 

From the Beehive:

Terrorism No New Topic to Presidential Elections (6 November 2012)

“The Inveteracy of Party Spirit is however indeed allarming at present.”: Press and Partisanship in the Election of 1796 (31 October 2012)

Historian Ray Raphael on that Flummoxing Electoral College (28 September 2012)

Election Days Past (2 Nov 2010)

Our Newest Arrival: Abigail Adams on Election of 1800 (27 May 2010)


From Collections Online:

Leverett Saltonstall and the Election of 1876

The American Party (the Know-Nothing Party) comes to power in Massachusetts in 1855

The Gerry-Mander. A new species of Monster which appeared in Essex South District in Jan. 1812

GOP campaign mugs of Richard M. Nixon and Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. (Just for fun.)


And with all the attention political ads have given to female voters in this year, it seemed appropriate to point back to Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Victory Parade : Instructions for Marchers


The image above is "Congressional Pugilists”, a political cartoon depicting Matthew Lyon fighting with a federalist opponent on the floor of Congress early in 1798.


permalink | Published: Monday, 5 November, 2012, 9:00 PM


Nov 6, 2012, 12:28 pm


Can you tell us what the text is, above and below? Great image.

Nov 6, 2012, 3:24 pm


Thank you Margaret. An excellent observation. As best as I can make it out, the text at the top of the page reads (across from left to right):

1 Jona[than] Dayton. Speaker Congressional Pugilists. 2 Jona[than] W. Condy. Clerk

Across the bottom (left to right) with the multi-line verses grouped to make it easier to read:

He in a trice struck Lyon thrice
Upon his head, enrag'd sir.

Who seized the tongs to ease his wrongs,
And Griswold thus engag'd, sir.

Congress Hall.
in Philad[elphi]a Feb.15.1798
S.E. Cor. 6th & Chestnut St.

Also, along the left side:
3 Rev Ashbel Green, Chaplain

The numbers refer to the man in the large chair (1), the man standing in front of the chair holding a pen (2), and the face in profile in the lower left hand corner (3)

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