National Affairs: The Eye of the Nation

A European is astonished to see nearly one thousand men prepare to transact the two most difficult pieces of business an assembly can undertake, the solemn consideration of their principles, and the selection of the person they wish to place at the head of the nation, in the sight and hearing of twelve or fourteen thousand other men and women . . .

—James Bryce, The American Commonwealth (1893)

In 1952, the solemn business was being transacted in the sight and hearing of some 50 million people who were watching the loud, gaudy—and deeply...

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