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That’s the Ticket! A Century of American Political Ballots


Donald L. Ackerman
Jonathan H. Mann

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A definitive study of American presidential elections 1789-1888 as revealed by political ballots and election tickets. Prior to the introduction of the secret ballot at the end of the 19th century, most Americans voted with pre-printed slips of paper deposited into boxes at the polls. These ephemeral items tell the evolving story of the American experiment at self-governance including origins of the two-party system. Ballots also doubled as partisan campaign material designed to influence and enable voter participation. They reveal issues that dominated the political arena and candidates that captured the imagination. That’s the Ticket! draws upon the most extensive collection of political ballots ever assembled to illustrate our electoral history. The book examines early battles between Federalists and Democrats, the debate over slavery, the Civil War and the Gilded Age. The work also discusses Lincoln’s campaigns in 1860 and 1864, electoral politics in the Confederate States, voter fraud, the efforts of third parties, and the appeal to prejudice. Examining laws that expanded or restricted the elective franchise, That’s the Ticket! presents such insight as: only ten states of the original 13 colonies participated in our first election in 1789; only five states that participated in our first election allowed voting by qualified citizens; South Carolina did not permit popular voting in presidential elections until after the Civil War; until 1828 Maryland had religious tests that barred non-Protestant citizens from voting or holding office; Abraham Lincoln was a candidate for Presidential Elector in three elections beginning in 1840… and lost each time; the “Stolen Election of 1876” was based on legitimate claims of voter fraud; there was no such thing as a secret ballot in the United States in the years prior to 1892! That’s the Ticket! is an indispensible reference work profusely illustrated in full color.