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Letter to Elijah Dwight Williams
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Samuel Barnard Williams was living in New Carlisle, Ohio, in 1840 when he wrote this letter to his brother Elisha who was in Boston, Massachusetts. The presidential election of 1840 is generally seen as the first modern election, with slogans such as "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too", rallies and electioneering by incumbent politicians. Williams refers to "Old Tip"-- a popular nickname for Whig Party candidate William Henry Harrison. In 1840, state offices in Ohio were held by Democrats--the party of Martin Van Buren who was the incumbent president. Williams comments about the heavy spending and electioneering by the state politicians in hopes of the Democratic Party winning the state. He is quite happy with the outcome of the election as the Whig party won both nationally and in Massachusetts where John Davis was elected governor. He mentions that Ohio was the first state to vote because up until 1845, there was no federally set day for the election. States could pick their own dates to choose members of the electoral college and voting was often carried out over several days.
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