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"Voting Magic, East of the Elbe" (1913)

The introduction of universal male suffrage in 1871 for federal elections did not curb the power of entrenched social elites. On Prussian estates east of the Elbe, attempts to control the behavior of voters were pervasive. In this caricature from 1913, the Landrat [district administrator] looms over the peasant voter at every turn. The text reads: “Voting-Magic East of the Elbe – An attractive innovation to achieve ‘good’ elections.” Although federal voting was officially secret, it was often carried out amidst interference and pressure by local authorities. By the twentieth century many voters challenged the abuses.

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© Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz