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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Campaign Factoid

In this political season when your mailbox is overflowing with campaign literature, you might want to know where it all started. Well, it was a Tennessean who added mass communications to the political process.

Seventh President Andrew Jackson is credited for producing, among other things, the first campaign mass mailing. His two presidential victories were the result of attracting voters from across a wide spectrum.

Jackson, the innovator, was described as follows by a Presidential historian:

"The United States’ seventh president and the first 'everyman' to be elected to our highest office, Jackson was early America’s most vocal champion of democracy. His legacy can be seen every day in contemporary politics — when candidates roll up their sleeves and don hard hats to demonstrate that they are regular folks, when America’s foreign policy heralds the spread of democracy across the planet."

The historian further wrote:

"When Jackson won the election in 1828, he did so over John Quincy Adams, the incumbent and son of a founding father, John Adams. It was a classic match-up of establishment versus outsider, aristocracy versus everyman. For Jackson’s inauguration, the capital was flooded with an unprecedented influx of well-wishers. Observers compared the throngs to the “inundation of the northern barbarians into Rome” and spoke of their lives “without deference to fashion.” Jackson himself shook 10,000 hands.

"Since then, every president has been an aspiring Jacksonian."

And now you know the rest of the story. It started in Tennessee.

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