Get the Ball Rolling

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Get the Ball Rolling

Keeping the ball rolling for Benjamin Harrison

Did you ever wonder where the expression 'to get/keep the ball rolling' came from? Us, neither. But according to the Library of Congress, who don't know, either, the phrase goes back at least as far as 1839. In 1840, a group of political supporters of William Henry Harrison built a very large campaign ball and rolled it to the convention site. Harrison was elected president of the US, but died of pneumonia about a month after delivering his inaugural address outdoors in very bad weather. Moral: wear an overcoat, and make the Secret Service hold your umbrella.

In 1888, Harrison's grandson, Benjamin, also ran for president. His supporters thought it would be a fun idea to recreate the old campaign ball, so they did. This Harrison became president, too.

All of which teaches us something, we suppose. But darned if we know what.

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Dmitri Gheorgheni

22.01.18 Front Page

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