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Politics in America: Only the rich need apply

"Swilling the planters with bumbo" was what it was once called - the Colonial American tradition of treating voters with gifts during election campaigns, particularly plying them with rum (including a concoction known as bumbo). Virtually everyone who could afford the practice did it, including George Washington, who served 160 gallons of rum to 400 voters during the 1758 campaign for the Virginia House of Burgesses. Needless to say, this was a prohibitively expensive way to campaign, and it meant that politics was largely the preserve of the rich.

http://www.juneauempire.com/stories/121510/opi_756947666.shtml
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