The election of our president and our Swedish immigrant ancestors

Now that this particularly vile and vulgar presidential election is over and some of the dust has settled here is my 2¢.

NO, I am not going to tell you who I voted for.    Reason #1 being I found both of our choices a poor excuse for a candidate and a human being. Regardless of the outcome of the election today I would still be unhappy with the election results. BUT I VOTED. I am shocked that 45% or so of Americans did not vote. To me voting is not only my right but my responsibility. Reason #2 is what do I know and who am I to tell anyone else who to vote for anyway? Who knows what the future brings?

Since hindsight is so much clearer and we have history on our side, I thought it would be fun to try and guess for whom our Swedish immigrant ancestors may have cast their first vote.

Two dates in US history are important to remember

•Until 1922 a woman automatically became a citizen through her husbands citizenship (she also lost her citizenship if she married an alien). That means that my Swedish immigrant great aunts Olga Palm, Tekla Peterson, Sarona Alvine, Ruth Soderstrom and Anna Jacobson automatically became citizens because their husbands took the oath before 1922. Grandpa Richard Kallman immigrated in 1906 but was not naturalized until 1925, Kudos to Grandma Lydia Kallman though, who individually applied for and became a naturalized citizen in 1930.

•American women did not win the vote until 26 August 1920 with the passage of the 19th amendment. The 1920 election was the first that women in the U.S. could participate.

 These are my guesses for whom my Swedish immigrant ancestors first voted for,

1900 : Republicans William McKinley and Theodore Rooosevelt  v.s. Democrats William Jennings Bryan and Adelai E. Stevensen

    Great Uncle Hugo Henry Alvine arrived in 1893 and became a citizen in 1898. McKinley was the incumbent but Bryan came from Nebraska and Stevenson from Illinois, both states with large Swedish populations so my guess is that for his first vote as an American he went with the Democrats....who lost.

1920: Republicans Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge v.s.  Democrats James M Cox and Franklin Roosevelt  This was the first election opportunity for the majority of my Swedish immigrant ancestors.

     Great Uncle Richard Peterson and Great Uncle Andrew Soderstrom by virtue of their service in WWI were newly naturalized. The country was struggling with the economy and the post war WWI boom was over. The current president was Woodrow Wilson who had promised in 1916 to keep the US out of the war in Europe. Well, we all know that didn't work out.  So I am guessing that like a large majority of Americans they went with Harding and Coolidge. Great Uncles Uno Palm and John Emil I think would have gone the same route .
This was also the first election in which women could vote. In these traditional times and coming from conservative, religious, immigrant stock I don't envision any of the aunts voting.  Heck I don't know if they even believed in the concept of Woman's Suffrage. Well maybe Great Aunt Sarona or Great Aunt Anna, but if they did they certainly would not vary from their husbands standard and would also vote as their husband did.

1928: Republicans Herbert Hoover and Charles Curtis v.s. Democrats Alfred E. Smith and Joseph T. Robinson

     My grandfather Richard Kallman although immigrating in 1906 finally became a US citizen in 1925. The Republican's slogan "A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage" surely was his ticket, besides Alfred E Smith was a Catholic and the country had a bit of a hard time with that in 1960 let alone 1928.

1932: Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John Nance Garner v.s. Republican Herbert Hoover and Charles Curtis

     Finally my grandmother Lydia Kallman, naturalized in 1930, could vote but I bet she didn't. The Democrats won in a landslide mainly because the country was now deep into the Great Depression. The Democrats also supported the repeal of  Prohibition. You know that tea-totaling Grandma would not approve of allowing people to drink!

So that is my 2¢, spend it as you will.

God bless America and boy do we need it.

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