1840: The Log Cabin and Hard Cider Campaign

Harrison Cup.JPG Harrison Tea Pot.JPG

During the 1840 presidential election, Whig candidate William Henry Harrison, at the age of 67, was thought to be too old to hold office. Editorialist John de Ziska ridiculed Harrison in the Baltimore Republican, writing, “Give him a barrel of hard cider, and settle a pension on him ... he will sit the remainder of his days in his log cabin by the side of the fire and study moral philosophy!”.

 The Whig party seized upon the mockery and used it to their advantage. They put the slogan “Log Cabin and Hard Cider” on a wide range of campaign paraphernalia to portray the aristocratic Harrison as a man of the people. The strategy worked and Harrison won the election, although the victory was short-lived. He only spent 31 days in office before dying of pneumonia.

This widespread use of slogans and imagery on mundane items such as this cup and teapot is considered the first modern election campaign for the U.S. presidency.

The Machinery of Democracy
1840: The Log Cabin and Hard Cider Campaign