1812 election notice from the Enoch Wood scrapbook - "The fate of the community..."

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Description:In the 1800s, an election would be among the biggest local attractions of the year.

The main event

Thousands would flock to hear the candidates' outdoor speeches, where they could find singing, flag-waving and cheap alcohol.

As an occasion it was very popular. It barely mattered that, in Staffordshire, only men with 40 shillings' worth of freehold property could vote.

Elections were the focus of conversation and conflict, and emotions ran high.

"The fate of the community..."

Slogans and sound bites were less prominent than they are today.

All sides would build up the occasion with almost every poster more like a rambling speech. According to this notice:

...a single Vote may turn the scale and almost decide the fate of the community.

The authors try to sound neutral, but quickly pass over the "inexperience and lack of judgment" of the younger candidate.

Instead, they praise the "Abilities... Industry.... Zeal..." and "Independence of Mind" of the more experienced John Wrottesley.

The authors' sympathies soon become clear.

About this document

The notice was printed by Swinney and Ferrall, High Street, Birmingham. It is now among the collections at Stoke-on-Trent Museums.


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