Date: Mon, 2 Sep 1996 21:01:13 -0400

From: "Barry A. Popik" Bapopik[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM

Subject: "RUNNING" FOR PRESIDENT--Is this the origin?

(I think the previous message went out to the wrong address--sorry.)

Why do Americans "run" for President? Why don't they "sit" or "stand"

for office? Why "run"?

H. L. Mencken, in THE AMERICAN LANGUAGE, pg. 245, states that "A member

of Parliament, if he be one who respects the integrity of his mother-tongue,

does not _run_ for office; he _stands_. But of late the American _to run_

has been coming in, and not long ago an M.P. wrote to me: 'If I think of my

own _candidature_ (_candidacy_), I say _'I ran,'_' etc. An English candidate

is not _nominated_, but _adopted_. If he _stands_ successfully, he _sits_ at

Westminster, and is a _sitting member_."

Does anyone know why we "run"? "Running mate" came later; does anyone

have a "sitting mate"?

This item, which MAY OR MAY NOT be helpful, comes from the political

humor publication THE JUDGE, vol. 6, no. 146, pg. 13, col. 1, August 2, 1884:

"Running" for the Presidency.

"YOUNG AMERICA" wants to know why we speak of a candidate "running" for

the Presidency. The term has its origin, my son, in a famous Indian

amusement called "running the guantlet." In this exciting national game the

citizens ranged themselves into two lines, facing each other, each free and

independent voter and his wife being armed with clubs, stones, hickory

"gads," black-snake mule whips, and one thing and another. Down between

these lines the candidate started on the livliest run his eager legs could

do, and the citizens with great enthusiasm kept him up to his work by letting

him have it whenever they could reach him as he sailed. Every time he

received an unusual thump, that raised a welt like a stuffed snake or laid

the hide open to the bone, or erected a prussian blue lamp as big as a hen's

egg, the entire convention howled with delight and the delegates earnestly

besought each other to give him another one just like it in the same place.

If the candidate got to the end of the course alive, everybody treated

him with the greatest consideration, shook hands with him and asked him to

have something with them, expressing not only their forgiving willingness,

but their most magnanimous anxiety to have anything with him, and the man who

had given him the awfullest lick, right across the misery, with a mahogany

club trimmed with spikes, came right up and assured him that in all their

differences of opinion during the cause he had ever maintained the

profoundest respect and unselfish affection for the candidate personally, and

was now willing to accept the collectorship of Gnu Jahrk [New York-ed.] or

the mission at Senzhames to prove it.

"But you don't see any similarity or connection between that sort of

thing and running for President?"

"Young man, get thee to a kindergarten! You have deceived me. You said

in your letter that you were eleven years old. I see that you are only

three-and-a-half. Go! to a kindergarten go!"--BOB BURDETTE.