The New International Encyclopædia/Nomination

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NOMINATION (Lat. nominatio, from nominare, to name, from nomen, name). In politics, the formal selection and presentation of a candidate for an elective office. In the United States, before the development of political parties, candidates for office were frequently nominated at private conferences or caucuses of the leading citizens of the community. Sometimes no formal nominations were made, and candidates were self-announced. By 1800 parties were fairly well organized, and the necessity arose of devising some means of selecting the candidates for offices. In national elections this was supplied by the Congressional caucus, which assumed the right of choosing Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates, and of determining the policy of the party. (See Caucus; Convention.) This method lasted until 1824. With the commencement of the revolt against the Congressional caucus several other temporary methods of nomination sprang into existence. These were nomination by the State legislatures as a whole, nomination by party caucuses of the State legislatures, nomination by State conventions, and nomination by public meetings. All these proved to be ineffectual and were superseded by the method of national convention, which came permanently into existence between 1830 and 1840, the first such convention being that of the Anti-Masonic Party in 1832. This has continued to be the accepted method of nominating candidates for President and Vice-President. Generally the choice of the convention is determined by the votes of a majority of the delegates; but in the case of the Democratic Party a two-thirds vote is necessary for a choice. In the nomination of State and local officers the convention has also come to be the recognized method, although in case of some of the minor offices nominations are frequently made directly by the party voters in the so-called primary elections. The national nominating convention consists of a certain number of delegates from each State, while local conventions are made up of delegates representing the several local units of the electoral district, the principle of representation according to the total population prevailing in both cases. Exceptions to the general rule that candidates for public office are nominated by delegate convention are, first, the old English method of self-announcement, which exists in communities like some of the Southern States, where practically only one political party exists, and where the success of the party is not endangered by a multiplicity of candidates; second, the method of nomination by primary election, where the individual voters directly select the candidate without the intervention of a convention; and, third, the method of nomination by petition, according to which the candidate may be put forward by filing with the proper officer a paper signed by a certain specified number of qualified voters. In those parts of the country where the New England town meeting exists, local candidates are frequently put in nomination by that assembly. In the cities local elective officers are almost invariably nominated by primary caucus or delegate conventions. Consult Dallinger, Nominations for Elective Office in the United States (New York, 1897); Bryce, American Commonwealth, vol. ii.. chap. lxix.