Daily Archives: November 5, 2012

Interview with Professor of Political Science, James Muller, about the History of Elections

On November 5, Deb the Librarian interviewed Political Science Professor James Muller about the History of Elections.

Read Professor Muller’s vita at muller.cfm.

Professor Muller talked about a number of historical elections including the election of George Washington, the election of 1800 (Jefferson vs. Adams), the election of Lincoln in 1860 , and the election of 1932 (Roosevelt vs. Hoover), and the election of 2000 (Bush vs. Gore).

He also explained how the electoral college works, and the constitutional basis of  U.S. elections.  Professor Muller reminded us that it is significant that we can make choices by ballots, since originally the changing of political power was a bit more violent.  He also gave examples of elections that resulted in one candidate winning the majority of popular votes, while the other candidate won the majority of electoral college votes.  This was the case in the 2000 election between Al Gore and George W. Bush.

When I asked Professor Muller about songs related to historic elections, he provide the following list:

1800    “Federal Convivial Song,” “Jefferson and Liberty,” and “Election: The People’s Right” (the last by John J. Hawkins)

1832    “Our Jackson is coming, oh, ho! oh ho!…”

1840    “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too”

1860    “We Are Coming, Father Abraham,” “Battle Cry of Freedom,” “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again,” and “Bonnie Blue Flag”

1876    “We’ll Vote for Hayes and Wheeler”

1932    “Happy Days Are Here Again”

1952    “Whistle While You Work, Stevenson’s a Jerk, Eisenhower’s Got the Power, and He Can Do the Work”…

There are many other entertaining songs that politicians have played for campaign purposes.  I found that in 1960, Frank Sinatra had recorded a version of High Hopes for John F. Kennedy’s campaign.  Presidential candidates seem to select songs that make a statement about their philosophy on leading the country, and that engage listeners with enthusiasm and patriotic emotion.