The Merchandise: Flags, Ribbons, Buttons, Plates, Posters
While yardsigns, bumperstickers, and the occasional button are visual reminders of political campaigns in our day, in 1884 (and the 19th-century more broadly), a panoply of merchandise was used to promote candidates and issues: uniforms, torches, ribbons, buttons, flags, handkerchiefs, broadsides, and posters. The most partisan Blaine supporters even donned armor for the Plumed Knight. Chromo-lithography was at its highest peak, and some of the posters of the day remain artistically compelling. What politicians now spend on television and "social media" was devoted in 1884 to print and other material artifacts. These survivors, from all parts of the country, remind us of how politics entered into daily life.