Have you noticed how often we group our ancestors into tidy little groups, like “my Germans,” or “my Texans”? After all, categorizing our ancestors is an easy way to convey to our listener which branch of the family we’re currently researching.
However, the people within those groups were individuals–each probably as different from one another as you are from your grandma. Nowhere will people’s differences be as visible as in politics.
Politics were as hotly debated decades ago as they are now. Do you ever wonder on which side of the fence your ancestors sat? Of course, we can’t go back inside the voting booth with them to see if they voted for Lincoln or Douglas, but we can learn a lot by looking at historical statistics, newspaper articles and issues.
My favorite site is Election Central. If you can tolerate the pop-up boxes here, click on the date links to learn the broad campaign issues. You can also see a graph of popular and Electoral College votes, as well as a map showing how each state voted.
For more on historical political issues and elections: