Memorabilia from the 1916 Wilson/Marshall Presidential Campaign
Political enthusiasts could on this paper hat that displayed the portraits of both President Woodrow Wilson and Vice President Thomas Marshall. President Wilson was the first President of the Democratic Party to be reelected for a second consecutive term since the Republican Party had been organized in 1860. Since the Civil War four President representing the Democratic Party have been reelected for more than one consecutive term: Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
Woodrow Wilson and Thomas Marshall, President and Vice President, ran for reelection in 1916. Marshall was a former Governor of Indiana. In the 1916 election, the Republican candidate for Vice President, Charles Fairbanks, was also a former Governor of Indiana. The Hughes/Fairbanks ticket took the State of Indiana in one of the closest national presidential elections in U.S. history.
One of the points made in Woodrow Wilson's favor in his 1916 reelection campaign was that the United States had avoided war. The United States was deeply divided as a nation on this matter. On the one hand, Theodore Roosevelt and others vigorously urged that the United States enter the Great War and questioned Woodrow Wilson's leadership; on the other hand, a significant proportion of Americans numbered themselves as "pacifists" and wanted to avoid becoming embroiled in a European war. The sinking of the British passenger ship RMS Lusitania in May 1915, with the loss of 126 American lives, was on people's minds in the 1916 campaign. The United States would not enter the war until April 1917, after many more months or continuing provocations and after President Wilson's second inauguration in March 1917.
The earliest phonograph was invented by Thomas A. Edison in 1877 when Woodrow Wilson was in college. By 1916 phonographs were in many homes and recorded music was available on both cylindrical and disc formats. In this time, sheet music remained a mainstay of the American music industry. Many middle class families owned a piano and many family members could play piano. Thus, sheet music, like the example, was a way to promote ideas, including political candidacies. The song "We Want Wilson in the White House Four Years More" was a Wilson campaign song in the re-election campaign of 1916. The song includes the lyrics:
"We want Wilson in the White House
Four years more;
We want Wilson there to guide us
As he's done before.
He's first, last and always for America
And he's kept us out of war - God bless him.
We want Wilson in the White House
Four Years more."
In modern times, when millions of dollars are raised for political campaigns online, it is remarkable to see efforts to collections coin change in a small coin bank as part of an organized presidential campaign. The bank features the portraits of both President Woodrow Wilson and Vice President Thomas Marshall. The reference to "Our Country Our Flag Our President" is an invocation of patriotism in support of Wilson's reelection at a time when war raged in Europe.
This ribboned button with a metal cannon attachment celebrates President Woodrow Wilson's second inauguration on Monday, March 5, 1917. (The U.S. Constitution called for inauguration on March 4, which was a Sunday in 1917; President Wilson took the renewed oath of office in a private ceremony on that Sunday, and the official inaugural celebration was observed on that Monday.)
This glass paperweight is in the shape of a horse shoe, a symbol of good luck that was undoubtedly commonly recognized in the Wilson-era when horse-drawn carriages would commonly be seen on the streets of Washington. In fact, although he enjoyed being driven on motoring outings, Woodrow Wilson himself never learned to drive an automobile.
All objects in this exhibit are courtesy of Anthony Atkiss.