Election Propaganda of Yore

Inspired by a twitter post by the Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA) we’ve pulled a few historical pieces of election propaganda from federal and provincial elections of the nineteenth century.

All of these items have been digitized by the Internet Archive and be found by browsing through our holdings here: http://bit.ly/lYPpqH.

These pamphlets are part of the Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collection’s Canadian Pamphlet Collection (or CPC).  This collection of historical pamphlets and ephemera ranges from the eighteenth century up to the present day.

Of the 19,000 CPC items in the collection, only about 272 were selected to be digitized.  A list of the CPC items available through the Internet Archive can be found here: http://bit.ly/kB9kbK . Users can browse the items online or download colour or b&w pdfs of the items.

Some highlights include:

Dominion elections 1896.

Back when there really was only two parties to choose from (although there were a sprinkling of independents), the CPR Telegraph company distributed this handy pamphlet during the 1896 federal election.This pamphlet features a handy set of tally sheets where the engaged elector might note who won a federal riding in the 1896 election.  Below are the pages for Ontario’s ridings.

Call number: CPC 1896 0002

Link to Internet Archive : http://www.archive.org/details/dominionelection00slsn

Federal Elections, 1895 : The issues of the campaign.

Released by the National Liberal Federation of Canada, this 120 page pamphlet features the Liberal Party platform leading up to the federal election of 1896, including their positions on the Senate, immigration, prohibition and the coal oil tax.

Call number : CPC 1895 0045

Link to Internet Archive : http://www.archive.org/details/federalelections00nati

Information for the Electors No.15 : The Government proposals, 1891.

A pamphlet comparing the Liberal-Conservative and Liberal party positions on taxation, foreign relations with Great Britain and the United States and tariffs.  Although seemingly anonymous, the spin of the pamphlet’s content suggest they were composed and distributed by the Liberal-Conservative Party.

Call number: CPC 1891 0062

Link to Internet Archive: http://www.archive.org/details/governmentpropos00slsn

La Réciprocité, historique des négociations, attitude du Canada et politique du gouvernement conservateur, 1891.

This pamphlet discusses issues of trade tarifs with the United States and Great Britain

Call number: CPC 1891 0063

Link to Internet Archive : http://www.archive.org/details/larciprocith00slsn

Le liberalisme-catholique et les elections du 23 juin 1896.

Call number: CPC 1896 0031

Link to Internet Archive: http://www.archive.org/details/leliberalismecat00lapa

Les conservateurs vengés! : la position de la province telle qu’elle est : réponse à M. Duffy, 1897.

Call number: CPC 1897 0021

Link to Internet Archive: http://www.archive.org/details/lesconservateurs00nant

The rout of the muses: a political poem by B. Frank Bolton,1899

Consisting of a very long poem by a B. Frank Bolton (one can only hope a pseudonym), the author clarifies the nuances of metaphor and veiled allusions in a series of notes at the end of the pamphlet. He notes:

I have thought this work used such names as this, and for the better understanding of it, subjoin the following list of names with their meaning, and the names of the persons to whom they refer. In the choice of names I have been guided by the popular opinion of the characters I have introduced, and I beg no one to think my nomenclature libelous in fact or intent.

The author also clarifies:

In addition to the above I have given to the Province of Manitoba, in mentioning the disagreement of the government of that province with the Federal Government, the name of URSULA. – (a she-bear).

Call number: CPC 1899 0053

Link to Internet Archive: http://www.archive.org/details/routofmusespolit00bolt

Trois scandales : l’affaire Lockwood, l’affaire Whelan, l’affaire Langlais, 1892.

A pamphlet circulated in 1892 regarding three scandals involving William Perfect Lockwood, John Patrick Whelan, and J.A. Langlais of the Parti libéral du Québec.

Call number: CPC 1891 0014

Link to Internet Archive: http://www.archive.org/details/troisscandalesla00slsn

The ups and downs of political life, or, the adventures of Mr. G. Raball, 1892.

This picture book contains satirical illustrations of the political life of G. Raball.

Call number: CPC 1892 0073

Link to Internet Archive: http://www.archive.org/details/upsdownsofpoliti00gilm

The People’s almanac : a compilation of facts and figures for the consideration of the electors of Canada, 1899.

This item was published as a supplement of the Montreal Gazette in 1899. The almanac features typical monthly information as well as informational panels outlining the betrayals of the ruling party in the last parliament.

Call number : CPC 1899 0039

Link to Internet Archive: http://www.archive.org/details/peoplesalmanacco00mont

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