In an election that drew 80 percent of eligible voters, Whig candidate William Henry Harrison crushed Democratic opponent and incumbent president Martin Van Buren in the electoral college. The economic Panic of 1837, tensions with Great Britain, and the divisive issues of slavery and western expansion provided opportunities for Van Buren’s opponents to undermine him in an election that was a referendum on his presidency.
The Whigs ran a masterful campaign. They inundated the public with promotional trinkets like this mechanical pull-tab card that caricatures Van Buren. Other odds and ends included sewing boxes, cigar tins, whiskey bottles, and pennants with the slogan "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" that references Harrison's defeat of Indians in the Northwest Territory in 1811 and his current running mate John Tyler. The opponent became "Martin Van Ruin." When a Democratic newspaper derided Harrison as content to live in a log cabin with a barrel of hard cider, the Whigs welcomed the homespun image and anointed Harrison the "Log Cabin and Hard Cider" candidate. Van Buren was contrasted as elitist.
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