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History

"Tippecanoe and Tyler Too"—you may have heard of this song, an old tune from way back in 1840. It's not a folk ditty, but rather part of the presidential campaign of William Henry Harrison (known as "Old Tippecanoe"). Harrison, whose running mate was John Tyler, capitalized on his victory in the Battle of Tippecanoe. The tune, and the image of Harrison as a military hero, caught on, and it expanded the methods of campaigning to include slogans, press promotions, and "whistle-stop" tours (speeches at the railroad stations all along the campaign trail). Along with these new campaign methods, politicians also bought votes when they could, which led to the first campaign restrictions being passed in 1890, at the beginning of the Progressive era in the United States. Variations on these concerns remain today, as some government officials push for campaign reform that would limit the methods and sources of campaign funding. As radio and then television emerged, campaigns shifted their efforts to utilize these media. Today, political campaigns find it necessary to discover the best ways to campaign online as well, especially via social media.

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