This is part of our Take a Closer Look series. This regular feature offers a behind-the-scenes view of some of our hidden treasures in our library and what they reveal about our shared past.
Politicians have long appreciated the value of a catchy campaign song during an election year. A popular tune can rally the crowd, convey the spirit of the candidate, or ridicule the opponent. With the rise of music publishing in the nineteenth century, many candidates realized that an image of their faces on sheet music could be an effective form of advertising.
Although it is unlikely that a candidate won or lost an election based on the choice of a song, these political tunes were very effective propaganda. During the presidential campaign of 1840, Whig editor Horace Greeley noted that "Our songs are doing more good than anything else." The Whig candidate won, and this march was dedicated to President William H. Harrison, who gained national fame at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811.