George Caleb Bingham painted a series of canvases celebrating elections in newly created states along the western frontier.
Here, gathered around the polling place is a crowd of characters, including the happy drunk whose vote has been bought with liquor and the downcast loyalist whose candidate has lost and who bows his head with more than a hangover. The sole African American, excluded from the voting process, stands at the left edge of the canvas serving hard cider. Women are notably absent from the scene.
Bingham himself was a disappointed politician, denied election to the Missouri statehouse in 1846 by crooked dealing. He swore never to get involved in politics again, but, in the end, he found himself addicted to the competition, was elected a legislator in 1848, and served as state treasurer during the Civil War.