Analyzing Primary Sources: Technology & Presidential Nominating Conventions

DNC ephemera

Political conventions have been part of the presidential nominating process for many years, but where conventions are held, who attends, and what happens at them has changed over time.

First, analyze sources related to the Democratic Party’s national conventions in 1928 and in 1960. What similarities do you see? What differences? In particular, look for evidence of differing technologies. How might changes in technology have affected the 1960 election?

1928 sources

1960 sources

The 2020 Democratic National Convention featured big changes. Explore what happened and the role technology played. What effect do you think the particular circumstances had on the election? Why do you think so?

Now use what you’ve learned and put your creativity cap on. What technologies can you envision being used at a future national party convention and how will they be used to impact the presidential election? Your envisioning should include the convention year, the political party hosting the convention, types of ephemera used to support and promote the convention, the role of technology in the convention and its potential impact on the election.

Related resources

Today in History: John F. Kennedy background and primary sources

Primary Source Learning: Presidential Elections