“Mysteries in Politiks”: The Second Congressional Elections in the Districts of Worcester and Maine




Houpt, David W.

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This thesis is a study of the Congressional elections in two districts of Massachusetts, Maine and Worcester, in 1790. Massachusetts election law required a candidate to receive 50 percent of the cast ballots to be declared winner. When no candidate reached this threshold, another election would be held. In both Worcester and Maine multiple canvasses were necessary to produce a winner. Although the second Congressional races were the first time that voters had an opportunity to express their opinions on how the new national government was taking shape, the newspaper campaigns leading up to these elections lacked an substantial discussion of national issues. The major pieces of legislation passed in the First Congress did not seem to factor into people’s decision. Instead, the focus was on the candidate’s background, personality, and relatively obscure pieces of legislation. The debates surrounding these elections do, however, foreshadow some of the issues that would divide the nation between Federalists and Republicans.



District of Maine, Second congressional elections, Congressional elections – 1790, Worcester County, Massachusetts, Thatcher, George, Grout, Jonathan