Ticket Voting
Identification of Voter Choice:  Slogans

1869 Democratic Ticket, San Francisco

Courtesy of the California Historical Society, San Francisco

The slogans on tickets were often direct to a fault. This is the Democratic Party ticket from the 10th Ward of San Francisco for California’s House and Senate, for city and county offices, and for justices of the peace. It appealed to multiple prejudices: anti- Chinese and anti-African-American.
Frank McCoppin, Irish born and San Francisco’s first foreign-born mayor, perhaps had experienced his own anti-Irish prejudices, eg “No Irish Need Apply.” His claims to membership in the “white” majority were strengthened by his denunciation of outliers even more remote than the Irish. He was the son-in-law of James Van Ness, a previous Democratic mayor, whose regime had floundered as it competed for legitimacy against the “Committee of Vigilance,” a vigilante group which included prominent business leaders and justified itself and its methods by claiming it was restoring “law and order.” As vigilantes, they marched on the San Francisco sheriff’s office, supported by cannon and their own well-armed militia, and seized two men accused of murder, one not yet arrested, the second awaiting a second trial.  Under the threat of an armed attack, the county sheriff surrendered Charles Cora and James P Casey to the Committee of Vigilance. Imprisoned and question by the leaders of the Committee, the two men were subjected to Potemkin trials, and hanged before an enthusiastic multitude from beams projected from the second floor of the Committee’s fortified headquarters. We often associate such vigilantism and lynchings with the post-Civil War South; it is useful to remember how both also flourished in San Francisco at about the same time.
San Francisco politics was rough, and so was Frank. He twice ran for mayor, in 1867 and 1869, winning the first time but losing his re-election bid. This is probably the ticket from the September 1, 1869 election held while the ratification process for the 15th Amendment to enfranchise African-American males was underway. Frank McCoppin was defeated; the 15th amendment passed Congress on February 26, 1869 and became part of the US Constitution on February 3, 1870.

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