"Get out the vote" Origin?
November 6, 2006 10:45 AM   Subscribe

Where does the phrase "Get out the vote" come from?

I hear it so much lately and it really bothers me because it doesn't seem grammatically correct. What's the origin of this term? Why does everyone have to use it?
posted by GregX3 to Law & Government (8 answers total)
Wow, surprisingly old term. Here's a NY Times story from 105 years ago that used it in the headline: "TAMMANY LEADERS HARD AT WORK.; Election District Captains Instructed to Get Out the Vote."
posted by smackfu at 11:27 AM on November 6, 2006

Here are more early 20th-century uses from Google News Archive. The Wikipedia article unfortunately says nothing about the history of the phrase.
posted by mbrubeck at 12:15 PM on November 6, 2006

More citations, back to 1864!
posted by mbrubeck at 12:19 PM on November 6, 2006

Response by poster: It's really interesting how old this phrase is. I'm still curious where it actually came from. Could it come from so far back that "Get out the vote" was actually gramatically correct at that time?
posted by GregX3 at 2:30 PM on November 6, 2006

Forgive me... how is it not correct?
posted by voidcontext at 3:49 PM on November 6, 2006

Ha, in US History today we started reading about Jacksonian democracy and the increased importance of the common man's vote as property requirements for voting became less common. This time period would be roughly from the early 1820s to the 1850s or so. It seems that canvassing for votes (going out and kissing babies, holding barbecues, etc.) became more common during this time. I don't know about that exact phrase, but the idea came from roughly that time period.
posted by MadamM at 6:53 PM on November 6, 2006

Regarding the grammar, the phrase is perfectly correct. In this case, "vote" is a metonym for "voters." More literally, it means "Get the voters out to the polls."
posted by decathecting at 7:41 PM on November 6, 2006

Decathecting, I was struggling in vain to remember that term. Thanks!
posted by voidcontext at 11:19 AM on November 7, 2006

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