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    Cameron County, Texas, Broadside: The "Blues and Reds". One page, 7.5" x 11.25", May 17, 1855, Cameron County, Texas, giving four reasons why "no fair and impartial jury . . . can be obtained in the county of Cameron". Toned with light dampstaining; near fine.

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    This broadside argues for a change of venue for certain "entitled causes", stating that the biases due to "the strong agitation which but a short time since amounted to open and violent hostility between the local parties known as the 'Blues and Reds,' has in a great degree subsided, yet the enmities and friendships, likes and dislikes then engendered yet continue . . . and this class embraces a very large portion of those qualified generally to serve as jurors. . . . On no reasonable grounds can a fair and impartial jury trial be had and obtained therein as long as said condition continues."


    This is a very early example of the "Blue and Red" problem, so-named from the political classification system used mainly in southern Texas. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, ballots in southern Texas were handed out according to color, blue for Democrat ballots and red for Republican ballots. This system was associated with corrupt elections since voters, often consisting of non-American citizens, were given food and alcohol and pressured to vote a certain way. When this broadside was printed in 1855, Cameron County had many years of election unrest ahead of it; eighteen years later in 1873, the Blue Club was formed in the county, guaranteeing future Blue success and Red animosity.

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    November, 2009
    21st Saturday
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