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The American Ballot Box in the Mid-Nineteenth Century (Paperback)
  • The American Ballot Box in the Mid-Nineteenth Century (Paperback)
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The American Ballot Box in the Mid-Nineteenth Century (Paperback)

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£30.99
Paperback 322 Pages / Published: 12/04/2004
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During the middle of the nineteenth century, Americans voted in saloons in the most derelict sections of great cities, in hamlets swarming with Union soldiers, or in wooden cabins so isolated that even neighbors had difficulty finding them. Their votes have come down to us as election returns reporting tens of millions of officially sanctioned democratic acts. Neatly arrayed in columns by office, candidate, and party, these returns are routinely interpreted as reflections of the preferences of individual voters and thus seem to unambiguously document the existence of a robust democratic ethos. By carefully examining political activity in and around the polling place, this book suggests some important caveats which must attend this conclusion. These caveats, in turn, help to bridge the interpretive chasm now separating ethno-cultural descriptions of popular politics from political economic analyses of state and national policy-making.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521537865
Number of pages: 322
Weight: 480 g
Dimensions: 227 x 153 x 17 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Richard Bensel has written a fascinating book on a timely subject, the nature of polling places in the United States at the juncture between the second and third party systems. His cogent description of how balloting actually took place raises provocative questions about the interpretation of nineteenth-century elections, the development of modern democracy, and the dilemmas inherent in electoral institutions." Perspectives On Politics
"The lore of the ballot box is unforgettable. Benselas rendering of it provides an excellent lesson in precision of description and, most important, it provides a picture we have unavailable in any other book I know of." Civil War History
"Richard Bensel's meticulous and perceptive investigation of how voters behaved on election day during the Civil War era is a very important book whose findings will offer little encouragement to 'rational choice' theorists or to policymakers currently engaged in democratic nation-building." Michael Perman, University of Illinois at Chicago
"This study is fascinating and readable." Political Science Quarterly, Howard W. Allen, Southern Illinois University, Cardbondale
"When historians and political scientists systematically began to explore the nineteenth-century voting universe about four or five decades ago, The American Ballot Box would have been extremely useful. That assertion in no way diminishes its contribution now, and the likelihood is that it will rekindle debates over such issues as the degree of fraud in those high-turnout elections and, at minimum, bring an expanded awareness to analysis of nineteenth-century elections...the value of a book that answers and raises so many questions cannot be underestimated. Would that this book was available many years ago; its appearance now is most welcome." Ron Formisano, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
"this is a provocative book, sure to have important consequences for how scholars interpret nineteenth-century politics." American Historical Review, Mark Voss-Hubbard
"This important and provocative book should be in the library of everyone interested in nineteenth-century American politics." - Speculum Thomas E. Jeffrey, Rutgers University

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