Posters: 180 Years of American Campaign Propaganda

A great new collection from the Library of Congress showcases how much—and how little—has changed.

Out May 5, Quirk Books' collection of ready-to-frame Presidential Campaign Posters from the Library of Congress traces political propaganda—official and otherwise—from the early days of the republic to the modern era. Brooke Gladstone, host of NPR's On the Media, writes in the book's preface that "we see in black-and-white and color that the incivility that modern Americans decry as symptomatic of a sick political system has, in fact, been with us always." Sure enough, before George W. Bush adopted a cowboy twang, Ulysses S. Grant described himself as "the Galena Tanner." Before a multi-hued Barack Obama looked hopefully skyward, there was Bobby Kennedy grinning in psychedelically vivid colors. And before Mitt Romney's square-jawed grin, there was...George Romney's square-jawed grin. In American politics, Gladstone writes, "every generation renews the battle and fights it again"—sometimes literally.