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Whig Party Convention Prox

Whig Convention

Whig Convention

1841 Ballot

Both Robert B. Cranston and Joseph L. Tillinghast were elected to the United States Congress as candidates of the Whig Party and served from March 4, 1837 to March 3, 1843.

This printed ballot- locally it was called a prox– was apparently signed by George Hazard Peckham of Little Compton, Rhode Island. It’s not clear whether this vote was actually cast or discarded.

According to one description:

“Until as late as 1892, paper ballots were the only voting system used in the United States. Originally consisting of a ‘prox’ or ‘ticket’ ballot pre-printed with a candidate‚Äôs name that voters would obtain and manually insert into a box, this system was updated in 1856 with the invention of the Australian secret ballot. This system, in which a ballot lists all candidates and proposals and is marked in private by the voter, was not used in a presidential election until Grover Cleveland was elected for the second time in 1892.”

Per Wikipedia: “The Whig party was formed in opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson and his Democratic Party. In particular, the Whigs supported the supremacy of Congress over the Presidency and favored a program of modernization and economic protectionism. This name was chosen to echo the American Whigs of 1776, who fought for independence, and because “Whig” was then a widely recognized label of choice for people who identified as opposing tyranny.”

For a detailed history of state balloting with numerous examples, see “Rhode Island Election Tickets: A Survey.”

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