Throwback to 1922 Midterm Elections

With the United States’ midterm elections in less than a month, I figured it calls for a Throwback Thursday post to revisit the midterms from a hundred years ago.

Agriculture, unionized labor, and debate over a World War I veterans bonus were the hot-button issues that defined the midterms in the 22nd year of the last century. But like every election, there were sleeper issues that played a role as well.

In 1922, the US was four years removed from World War I, three years removed from the Spanish Flu, and a year removed from one of the worst recessions in the country’s history. 

At the time, Senators had only been elected by popular vote in four election cycles thanks to the Seventeenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1913. 

The 1922 midterms were also only the second election when women in every state had the right to vote thanks to the Nineteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1920. 

The State of the US Government in 1922

Entering the 1922 midterms, Republicans controlled the House, Senate, and White House. 

In the election of 1920, Republicans had picked up 67 seats in the House, raising their majority to a whopping 303–167, to this day, the largest majority their party has ever held in the lower chamber. 

Republicans also picked up ten seats in the Senate, bringing them to a 59–37 majority in the upper chamber. 

President Warren Harding won the White House in 1920 with more than 60 percent of the popular vote after two terms of Democrat President Woodrow Wilson. Harding ran on a platform of restoring America to its pre-war prosperity and normalcy. 

Democratic leadership, meanwhile, continued to advocate for American meddling on the international stage — a message that proved hugely unpopular with voters after the war.

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