Friday 13 Apr, 2012

Famous Presidential Campaign Slogans

With the 2012 Presidential Election less than a year away and Gallup already tracking the campaigns, candidates slogans seems like a timely topic to cover.

The first slogan

William Henry Harrison can be credited with coining the first presidential campaign slogan in the Election of 1840. Harrison, the Whig nominee, used the lore of the Battle of Tippecanoe in which he led American forces against Tecumseh and a confederacy of Native Americans  in November of 1811.  With John Tyler as his running mate, the Whig party came up with the first presidential slogan “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too!”

The band They Might Be Giants even recorded a cover of the song for a 2004 album. Have a listen and watch a slide show of some “Tip and Ty” campaign materials. They worked — Harrison and Tyler would go on to win the election of 1840.

A piercing slogan

Franklin Pierce. Painting by G.P.A. Healy, Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C.

In the Election of 1852, Franklin Pierce, a New Hampshire resident, received the Democratic nomination for president. His campaign slogan paid homage to fellow Democrat James K. Polk who served as president from 1845-1849.  Pierce cleverly told voters with “We Polked you in 44, We shall Pierce you in ’52.”

Pierce won the election against the Whig candidate, General Winfield Scott, who, oddly enough had been Pierce’s commander during the Mexican-American War.

A slogan, a promise

Political Button for Herbert Hoover’s 1928 campaign. Made by Whitehead & Hoag, Newark, NJ, 1928.

In 1928, Herbert Hoover wanted Americans to know they would thrive if he was to become president.  After World War I, his campaign was based on the Republican record of prosperity.  He told voters that when he was president, they would have “A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.”  Hoover won the 1928 election, however ironically enough, less than a year into his term, the stock market would crash and America would enter The Great Depression.

Campaign slogans capture the state of the country at the time of elections and so much can be learned about history based on simple one-liners. Stay tuned for more posts on famous presidential slogans.


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