Image Source: Political Campaign Buttons
According to this article about the history of buttons, Lincoln was the first president to use buttons strategically as a campaign tool, but even George Washington was wearing some kind of button while in office.
The mass production of campaign buttons started with William McKinley's campaign in 1896 and gained prominence in 1940 when Wendell Willkie's campaign began producing buttons rapidly and in bulk to respond to things said by and about Franklin Roosevelt.
Interestingly, the buttons used by McKinley and Willkie were produced similarly to how campaigns buttons are made today. As we saw during the '08 election, campaign buttons can help to solidify an iconic image that ends up representing a historic election.
Image Source: Portland Pins
Interestingly, the life and relevance of a campaign button does not end with the declaration of an election winner. Quite the contrary in fact. Many people collect campaign buttons, just as people collect coins or baseball cards.
And like any other collector's item, the more famous (or infamous) the campaign button, and the more scarce, the higher the value. Sites like PoliticalParade.com facilitate the collecting of campaign buttons.
For example, buttons such as these, which picture iconic presidents during one of more unique and influential eras in our country's history, can become quite valuable as collector's items.
- Revisit the campaign buttons of the 2008 election
- See our tutorial on how to make a campaign button
- Get all the supplies you need to make buttons for your own political campaign
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