Presentation drawing of “The Statue of Liberty Illuminating the World,” by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, 1875. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Harry G. Sperling Fund, 2014.


Volume XIII, Number 4 | fall 2020


It is often said that Edgar Allan Poe’s death was the result of the electioneering practice known as cooping. In his Maryland: A Bicentennial History, Carl Bode describes cooping as “the shutting up of men, usually derelicts, in rooms or coops on Election Day and then dragging them from polling place to polling place to cast their votes. To make them more docile while voting again and again, many were drugged or made drunk.” Poe may have been captured in Baltimore by an election gang, drugged, and made to vote in several places. “He was picked up unconscious near one of the rum shops used for voting,” wrote biographer George Woodbury, “and taken to Washington Hospital,” where he died on October 7, 1849.

So many men, so many opinions.

—Terence, 161 BC


The World in Time

Olivier Zunz

Lewis H. Lapham speaks with the author of The Man Who Understood Democracy: The Life of Alexis de Tocqueville. More