New Exhibition! Battle on the Ballot: Political Outsiders in US Presidential Elections

By DPLA, October 18, 2016.

With Election Day just three weeks away, we are pleased to announce the publication of our newest exhibition, Battle on the Ballot: Political Outsiders in US Presidential Elections. With only twenty-one days until we elect our next president, your inboxes, news feeds, and social media networks are likely abuzz with the minute-to-minute happenings in the world of polls, pundits, and party politics, yet historical perspective is sometimes hard to find. Both candidates—a billionaire businessman and the first woman nominated by a major party—approach the presidency as outsiders, reaching beyond the traditional boundaries of US presidential politics, though each in very different ways.

In Battle on the Ballot, the DPLA curation team digs into the vast collections of our partner institutions to explore the ways in which the 2016 race resonates with the legacies of the outsiders who have come before. The exhibition offers a dynamic definition of outsider and explores the rich history of select individuals, parties, events, and movements that have influenced US presidential elections from the outside—outside Washington politics, outside the two-party system, and outside the traditional conception of who can be an American president.

  • Have Americans elected past presidents with no political experience?
  • What third parties have successfully impacted election outcomes?
  • Who were some of the earliest women to run for president?
  • What happens when parties and politicians organize around fear of outsiders?
  • How have African Americans exercised their political power—as voters and candidates—in presidential elections over the last fifty years?

Explore the answers to these questions and more in the exhibition.

View the Exhibition

Battle on the Ballot: Political Outsiders in US Presidential Elections was curated using materials contributed by institutions across our partner network. In particular, we would like to thank the Digital Library of Georgia, Missouri Hub, North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, and California Digital Library for their assistance in creating this exhibition.  

The image in the featured banner comes from the collection of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill via North Carolina Digital Heritage Center.