Elections in Colonial America Were Huge, Booze-Fueled PartiesBreaking News
tags: elections, politics, American History
Voters for the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1758 had their choice of candidates. And one of them—a wealthy planter who had made his name in the French and Indian War—gave them their choice of alcohol, too. Candidate George Washington plied potential voters with 47 gallons of beer, 35 gallons of wine, 2 gallons of cider, 3 1/2 pints of brandy and a whopping 70 gallons of rum punch. He carried the election with 310 votes.
The future president wasn’t the only candidate who knew how to grease the wheels of the colonial electorate—and his voters weren’t the only colonists who knew how to party on election day. In the days before the American Revolution, colonial elections were festive, even rowdy occasions. Elections were a chance to weigh in on important business, but they were also an opportunity to let loose and party.
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