The Virgin Vote: How Young Americans Made Democracy Social, Politics Personal, and Voting Popular in the Nineteenth Century

By Jon Grinspan | Go to book overview

Afterword

Twelve-year-olds can’t hold their liquor like they used to. Americans tend to frown on paramilitary political clubs. Bring a live raccoon to a rally and someone will call Animal Control. Those looking to get young people more involved in politics today can’t just borrow the best tricks of nineteenthcentury b’hoys or bosses. History is not a dusty toolbox, packed with old instruments to bring back into use. Culture changes too much in between.

Yet the speechifying of Oscar Lawrence Jackson and the detective work of Susan Bradford stand as tantalizing reminders of how different our lives could be. There was a time when schoolchildren argued about their favorite candidate, political rallies were a place to flirt, and adults stood around listening (inattentively) to the soapbox diatribes of youths. One can’t help but wonder how our nation might be different if this were the case today.1

The fantasy that we could repurpose the best techniques of the age of popular politics is hubris at best. It brings to mind a Jurassic Park of poll hustlers, with electioneers in ragged tweed ambushing potential voters in Target parking lots and thuggish b’hoys chasing off League of Women Voters volunteers with brickbats and saucy Victorian slang.

And besides, this book does not venerate a golden age. Virgin voters and young activists were motivated and involved, but they could also be selfish, bigoted, frequently violent, and gallingly ignorant. Higher rates of youth voting wouldn’t be worth it, if it meant a return to “awlings” in the line to vote.

Yet the story of the virgin vote shows that the world we know is not the only option. An average of 45 percent of eligible eighteen- to twenty-nineyear-olds have turned out for presidential elections over the last several decades. The 2014 congressional election experienced the lowest youth turnout ever recorded in forty years of elections.2 Baby boomers, for all their talk, were only marginally more likely to vote in their twenties. (Youth turnout is as bad in other Western democracies; in fact, it is sometimes

-152-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Virgin Vote: How Young Americans Made Democracy Social, Politics Personal, and Voting Popular in the Nineteenth Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction - Democracy out of Doors 1
  • 1- Violent Little Partisans 15
  • 2- The Generous Ambitions of Youth 37
  • 3- My Virgin Vote 60
  • 4- The Way for a Young Man to Rise 84
  • 5- Every One Is Fifty 107
  • Conclusion - Things Ain’t What They Used to Be 129
  • Afterword 152
  • Appendix 161
  • Notes 165
  • Bibilography 227
  • Acknowledgments 249
  • Index 251
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 256

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.