presidential elections over the years

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Presidential Elections: Then and Now

The presidency is the single most important position in all of American government. Who the presidents were and what they did say a lot about America as a whole. In colonial America, the election of public and church officials could probably date back to the very beginning at Plymouth Rock. In the presidential era of the late 19th century, the job as president was considered just that, a job. The presidents made little effort to reach out to the public unlike today where that is the main audience; they need to make the public happy. The president was seen as merely a type of civil servant. All other parts of the government were more important. For example, Congress, who controlled the federal budget, public issues, and legislation, allowed no type of interference from the president. Today the president is more of a leader, equip with more power than in the past.
Today the United States Constitution states that there is a right to hold elections, but the methods and places are left up to the state. It also states that the elections of presidents and vice presidents are to be indirect, which means that they are chosen by electors whom are selected by the people-the Electoral College. There is more emphasis on what the people want and need. This is one result of a changing government and society. With these changes came changes in the way the presidential elections were seen and controlled and also the methods taken to achieve a victory.
There are many differences in the presidential elections of the late 19th, early 20th century and with the elections of today, however there are similarities too. The major areas about presidential elections that are easily comparable are the areas of campaigning, debates, and issues.
In the early years of the nation, men would be asked to take political office. These men were supposedly well known and their character and experience were expected to speak for themselves. As politics democratized in the 19th century, men began to “run” for public office by promoting themselves through campaigning. This was true for all offices except the presidency. The public and press were opposed to presidential campaigning because it was a too dignified position for the candidates to embarrass themselves with personal salesmanship. People felt the president should be above partisanship. This way he would be able to act for the common good.

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