Culinary partisanship formed an important component of the electoral politics of the Second Party System and was critical to the election of 1840. Beyond the hard cider that most obviously indicated support for William Henry Harrison, partisans on both sides used food to endorse their preferred candidate. Linking food to broader debates on republicanism, Whigs were particularly effective at denouncing the reported gluttony and extravagance of Martin Van Buren while creating a Whig culinary community centered on hearty, homely, republican fare such as corn bread and roast beef. Moreover, both Whigs and Democrats used food to engage voters in deeper policy issues, most notably the debate on the Independent Treasury Bill. The centrality of food to the election of 1840, moreover, not only provided women with another avenue to gain access to the public sphere by helping prepare for food-centered campaign events, but demonstrates the degree to which politics entered the private sphere as women invented and shared dishes like Harrison Cake. An analysis of political gastronomy demonstrates how women's culinary activism fused with food-oriented partisan political culture to mobilize both men and women for Whig success.


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pp. 83-115
Launched on MUSE
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