Elections: A History

WNET

How have presidential elections evolved over the years? Travel back in time to past conventions and debates featuring figures like Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Abraham Lincoln, Brady National Photographic Art Gallery (Washington, D.C.), 1866-08-01, From the collection of: WNET
President Abraham Lincoln
Elected in 1861

Did you know that Lincoln met his vice president two weeks after he was elected to the presidency?

President Roosevelt At Opening Ball Game, Thomas Mcavoy, 1941, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Elected in 1933

In 1920, FDR was nominated for vice president.

F.D.R., George Skadding, 1944-11, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection

Three years after FDR was elected governor of New York, he sought the presidency.

Roosevelt Fireside Chat, Thomas Mcavoy, 1938-04, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection

FDR delivered his first radio address the day after he was elected president, November 9, 1932.

FDR Behind The Wheel, FPG, 1935-01-01, From the collection of: Getty Images

FDR was living at the Roosevelt House in New York when he was elected president of the United States.

Jackie Robinson (1954), Bob Sandberg, 1954, From the collection of: WNET
Jackie Robinson and the Republican party
1960 and 1964 Elections
Jackie Robinson, Allan Grant, 1950-02, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection

When Jackie Robinson retired from baseball in the late 1950s, he began to show an interest in politics.

Jackie Robinson, 1950-03-03, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection

In the 1950s, many black voters aligned themselves with the republican party.

Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1964, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection

Senator Barry Goldwater won the republican nomination in 1960, splintered the party.

Nixon-Kennedy Debate, Paul Schutzer, 1960-10, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
Debates

The presidential campaigns come every 4 years, but what's been missing for 20 years? A female moderator. In 2012, these Montclair teens petitioned to change that.

Teen Age Voters Georgia, Gabriel Benzur, 1944-11, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
Voting
Political cartoon (1895), From the collection of: WNET

Political Cartoon (1895)

“When Theodore Roosevelt was commissioner, he tried to enforce all the laws and all police conduct rules, to the absolute shock of most New Yorkers. He made special efforts to have fair elections. The Bureau of Elections was soon separated from the police department which reduced the police force’s roll in tabulating the votes.”

New Yorkers Line Polls to Vote Despite Storm Troubles, Treasures of New York, From the collection of: WNET

New Yorkers Line Polls to Vote Despite Storm Troubles

Broken scanners and allegedly disorganized poll staffing at PS 92 on Parkside Avenue in Brooklyn led to waits longer than two hours. The polling site was still packed at 9 p.m., the close of voting time in New York. Photo courtesy Marc Joseph Rosenblatt.

How significant is Super Tuesday historically?

Democratic National Convention (1964), LBJ Library, 1964-08-27, From the collection of: WNET
Conventions
Republican Convention, Edward Clark, 1956-08, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection

What is a brokered convention and when was the last time we witnessed one?

Democratic Convention, Ralph Crane, 1960-07, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection

There's a rich history of turmoil within the democratic and republican parties.

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