September 23, 2008

Campaign Blast from the Past: The County Election

In 1852, Missouri-native George C. Bingham completed "The County Election" (detail, right). The painting portrayed free liquor being poured, inebriated voters propped up at the polling place, bought votes, and a glad-handing politican (in top-hat).
You might think (like I did) that Bingham had a jaundiced view of the questionable Whig tradition of providing voters with free liquor. Not so; Bingham was a Whig!

So where we see ethics violations, this was actually Bingham's way of paying tribute to the will of the people. He wasn't necessarily condoning the hubbub, but there is a spirit of celebration surrounding the democratic spectacle. (Or so say Bingham's biographers.)

George Bingham had political aspirations of his own, serving as State Treasurer of Ohio from 1862-6 and running unsuccessfully for Congress.

And while his Whig affiliation dates him, Bingham was ahead of his time in one respect; he anticipated the rise of heavy metal with this detail from "The Jolly Flatboatmen" (1846).

* My sources are here.

1 comment:

gonzalez and his back yard said...

Dear Unexpected,

Your sources are very much a "collectible". So many of them bring tears to our eyes, and also to the so much overheard: "I told you so!" that precedes the turning of your ahead in agreement, even if it means seeking understanding from the horse, or the chicken ,the dog, and in an emergency from your wife. You turn to say: "Yes, I told you so!" and so we would repeat or so reply to ease to a degree our sorrow: "if the out-house goes, what will be next, "please darling don't say: us."

Thanks for the great pain you take in uncovering so much and oh so constantly overlooked and needed reminders of detail!

Gonzalez and the backyard group.

P.S. This is comment is based on your reference in the blog to the disappearing "out-house" from our American Landscape. Thanks