Posted by Bob on November 10, 2000
In Reply to: Get (keep) the ball rolling posted by ESC on November 10, 2000
: : : : "Let's get the ball rolling"
: : : I would think it stems from this expression:
: : : KEEP THE BALL ROLLING - "The election of 1840, which pitted President Martin Van Buren running for reelection against 'Tippecanoe and Tyler, too' - General William Henry Harrison, legendary hero who fought against the Indians at Tippecanoe, and Virginian John Tyler - brought with it the first modern political campaign. Some historians believe the election gave us the expression 'keep the ball rolling' as well as the word O.K. (See the Phrase Finder archives for other theories about O.K.) One popular advertising stunt that helped Harrison win was 'to keep the ball rolling' for the 'log cabin and hard cider candidate.' Ten-foot high 'victory-balls,' made of tin and leather and imprinted with the candidate's name, were rolled from city to city for as far as 300 miles. These victory balls did popularize the expression 'keep the ball rolling,' keep interest from flagging, but the saying undoubtedly dates back to the late 18th century. Of British origin, it alludes either to the game of bandy, a form of hockey where the puck is a small ball, or the game of rugby. In either sport there is no interest in the game if the ball is not rolling. The first form of the expression was 'keep the ball up.'" From "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997)
: : A side note for election season: "Tippecanoe" Harrison was the first candidate to be touted as a Log Cabin and Hard Cider man of the people.... but what marks this as a campaign original was that he was no such thing. He came from prosperous roots, and while he may have seen a log cabin or two, he certainly wasn't born in one. Early spin doctors...
: I was interested in what constituted a "modern political campaign." The use of slogans and gimmicks, etc.?
Interesting question. Perhaps it was the first (or among the first) where the candidates managed people's perceptions, rather than letting journalists form public opinion. The manufactured imagery of log cabins trumped reality.