The Charlotte News

Sunday, April 5, 1936




Veterans of the Caesarian wars, back in their day, were wont to dress themselves in loose togas of white and stroll in humble dignity through the Campus Martius and the Forum. They would meet the citizenry and as the occasion seemed propitious draw aside their spotless robes and expose their honorable scars of battle with the enemies of Rome. Thereupon they would make protestations of their meekness, their purity of character, and their high estimation of the honor of being chosen public servants. Did they aspire to the higher office of the magistracy, the natural white of the wool of their togas was coated with chalk to signify their appreciation of the necessity for exceptional chastity and dignity in that office. Because of these robes of white connoting qualification by service, honor and humility, they were called by a Roman word meaning "robed in white." It is our word "candidate."

Now that we are in the midst of that period when again we are to unpack the absentee ballots, when we are to have political trades and rumors of political trades at the electorate's expense, when the ward heeler shall invade the back streets and traffic in votes at so much per dozen, when office seekers shall deceive the people with sly promises and half facts--at such a time it is refreshing to know where the word "candidate" comes from.

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