The County Election
George Caleb Bingham's The County Election (1852) depicts a Missouri election day. In that time and place, only white male property-owners could vote, and candidates and their representatives could solicit votes immediately before the voting. Alcohol flowed freely, and votes were cast by voice and recorded in public.
One of America's leading 19th-century genre painters, George Caleb Bingham enjoyed successful careers in art, politics, and public service in the state of Missouri. Bingham painted this scene twice. The first County Election was exhibited at the Whig National Convention in Baltimore, which Bingham attended in July 1852. The copy painting reproduced here was completed later that summer, and like the first was used to promote the democratic ideals of the Whig Party to a national audience. This painting toured Missouri, Louisiana, and Kentucky.
Courtesy Saint Louis Art Museum, gift of the Bank of America