Notes: On November 5, 1872, 440,738 New Yorkers went into the voting booth to express a preference for Ulysses S. Grant over Horace Greeley. Under the American political system they were technically selecting voters in the Electoral College, including Frederick Douglass and thirty-four other men on the Republican party slate. This is a very rare printed ticket listing the electors. The sheet is just 2-7/8 by 3-1/2 inches, and few (if any) other copies survive.
Douglass was honored by his selection to the college and of having his name first on the list. This was a recognition of the importance of the Black vote to the Republicans in a narrowly divided country. After the New York electors voted for Grant, they selected Douglass to present the results to the Senate for the official tally of votes.
Douglass writes about this in his 1881 autobiography:
"The Republicans of [New York], not having the fear of popular prejudice before their eyes, placed my name as an elector at large at the head of their presidential ticket. Considering the deep-rooted sentiment of the masses against Negroes, the noise and tumult likely to be raised, especially among our adopted citizens of Irish descent, this was a bold and manly proceeding, and one for which the Republicans of the State of New York deserve the gratitude of every colored citizen of the Republic, for it was a blow at popular prejudice in a quarter where it was capable of making the strongest resistance...
"Equally significant of the turn now taken in the political sentiment of the country was the action of the Republican electoral college at its meeting in Albany, when it committed to my custody the sealed-up electoral vote of the great State of New York and commissioned me to bring that vote to the national capital. Only a few years before this any colored man was forbidden by law to carry a United States mail bag from one post-office to another. He was not allowed to touch the sacred leather, though locked in "triple steel," but now not a mail bag, but a document which was to decide the presidential question with all its momentous interests, was committed to the hands of one of this despised class, and around him, in the execution of his high trust, was thrown all the safeguards provided by the Constitution and the laws of the land."
On a side note, this was the election in which Victoria Woodhull (née Claflin) was nominated as the presidential candidate for the Equal Rights Party. She selected Douglass—without asking—as her running mate. One of the other electors, Horace B. Claflin, was a distant relative of Woodhull.
A single small sheet, printed in three colors (blue and black on the front and brown on the back).
Edition + Condition: A very good copy, with old folds. Pencil notation on the back (verso), possibly reading "Chapter XXII."
Publication: New York: (n.p.), 1872.
Item No: #362496