Eleven Years–Then And Now

Think about Americans, American civic life, and moving visual images.

The first use of motion pictures in American presidential elections was in March 1901 with the inauguration of William McKinley. Filmed by the inventor of film–Thomas Edison. Again, 1901.

The first use of motion pictures in American presidential campaigns was in fall 1912 with the campaign of Woodrow Wilson. Filmed by a motion picture production company in Hollywood. Again, 1912.

Eleven years from first to second.

When you watch the two visuals, points of analysis begin to spark and flash. For one, a lot changed in that time, especially in the context of the centuries before any moving picture. For another, the bundle of changes includes things you might not think about–such as the rise of production companies, the rise of a specific place where they exist, the adaptation of existing methods of comedy to the new medium and the new medium’s affect on those methods, the rise of advisors (political and personal) trying to use a new technique for their candidate, and so on. Finally, stay quiet for a minute longer and absorb the implications of it all as the next century unfolds, and as the next-next century is unfolding this very second.

The points for leadership, public and private alike, feel nearly endless.

Thanks for reading and, below, for watching. It’s only a few minutes of your time. Be well.

All the best, Dan

1901: https://www.loc.gov/item/00694335

1912: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwevmowCSZ4