Maysville Kentucky Blog

The Maysville Kentucky Blog is your guide to the beautiful and historic small town of Maysville Kentucky, snuggled into the rolling hills along the Ohio River. Though this blog has been discontinued, you can get your Maysville Kentucky fix over at Ken Downing's Mason County Kentucky Blog @

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Jeffersonian Voting in Kentucky Politics

One of our readers (Ken Downing) sent us a referral to an article in the National Journal that makes the case that, as they put it, that "There has long been hearty, though lopsided, political competition in Kentucky, with most of the 120 counties voting today as they did in the Civil War era."

According to the article, which provides a crib sheet on Kentucky politics, most of the state has stuck to its various political values over the past century. In many ways a Jeffersonian Kentucky still exists. Thomas Jefferson, who wrote Notes on Virginia while Kentucky was still a part of Virginia, had a lot of influence in the early commonwealth. He was a fan of the idealism of commonwealths and when it came time for Kentucky to join the Union as a full-fledged state (while Jefferson was secretary of state), Jefferson ghostwrote the Kentucky Resolutions (1798).

Little has changed in our political ideals since then.

The eastern mountains were pro-Union and remain Republican, except for counties where coal miners were organized by the United Mine Workers in the 1930s; the Bluegrass region and the western end of the state were slaveholding territory and Democratic, though they have shifted to Republicans in the last decade. Louisville, with many German immigrants, was an anti-slavery town, and for years flirted with Republicans; Jefferson County recently has voted narrowly Democratic, though by margins small enough to be offset by Republican margins in fast-growing suburban Oldham and Bullitt Counties.

With population increases comparatively low and few outsiders moving in, the article also points out that most of today's Kentuckians are descendants of the same settlers we keep talking about in our more historical articles. Those who come to Kentucky, stay in Kentucky, but few actually come here. Unlike many other states whose backgrounds have blurred with time, Kentucky remains a sort of lost world. If we do in fact bleed blue, it's a pure blue.

The article is a pretty comprehensive summary of Kentucky politics within the context of Kentucky's entire history as a commonwealth. It's definitely worth the read. Check it out.


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