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Uncommon Sense


By Holly White · October 06, 2020

Elections in Early America Podcast Series Releases TODAY!

Ben Franklin's World 3 min read

Every year, the United States holds elections. Often these elections are for city, town, and state offices. Every two years, the United States holds federal elections, where the American people elect those who will represent and serve them in their national government. 

How did elections in the United States develop? Who is American democracy for and who gets to participate in that democracy by voting? 

As 2020 is a federal election year, members of the OI’s Digital Audio team found themselves wondering about these questions, so they decided to create a podcast series to investigate answers to them. Over the next four Tuesdays, the Omohundro Institute will be releasing a NEW episode of Ben Franklin’s World as part of a series we’re calling “Elections in Early America.” 

Over the course of these four episodes, Liz Covart, Holly White, and Joseph Adelman will explore the early American origins of elections and voting practices in the United States. 

In the first episode, Holly will take you back to colonial America so you can investigate how elections and democracy took hold in British North America. In our second episode, you’ll discover the origins and development of federal elections and who could participate in them. Our third episode will allow you to explore aspects of Native American sovereignty and whether the new United States left any space for Native peoples to participate in state and federal elections. And in our fourth episode, Joe will conclude with an investigation of presidential elections and the development of the electoral college.

We’ll also be providing reading lists and other resources on the OI Reader—be sure to check them out.

We hope you enjoy the series!

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