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Washington County

'Washington County' cover image

Washington County

Politics and Community in Antebellum America

In the 1850s, Washington County, Oregon, gathered together a broad cross-section of antebellum America. More than that, however, it left for historians a rare opportunity to explore political, social, and cultural trends in American history due to its unique practice of viva voce voting—announcing individual ballots publicly rather than recording them in secret. Paul Bourke and Donald DeBats tap into this remarkable resource to reveal how individual political identities developed and political choices were made.