ChesterNewMatterSummer2017 - 17

Dictum for Dummies


By Karyn L. Seace, Esquire

In this issue, I will look at the expression
"keep the ball rolling."
This expression dates back to 1781 originally (more about
this later). However, in its current form, it dates back to 1840
when it was used as a campaign slogan for Harrison and Tyler.
This election was "revolutionary" in that it was the first time
that we had campaign slogans used, along with campaign
songs, and publicity stunts of all kinds. Now doesn't all this
just "make America great (again)" since "together we
are stronger."
The election of 1840 had another popular campaign slogan,
"Tippecanoe and Tyler too" which actually came from the
following campaign song:
Don't you hear from every quarter, quarter, quarter,
Good news and true,
That swift the ball is rolling on
For Tippecanoe and Tyler Too.

The "ball" that is mentioned in the song was the "ball that
was kept rolling" - literally. It was a tin and leather ball and
was ten feet in diameter! In truth, there was not just one ball,
there were several of them which were actually pushed from
one rally to another. In fact, his supporters who attended his
rallies were encouraged to push the ball on to the next town,
while chanting "keep the ball rolling."
This expression originally came from the similar, British
phrase "keep the ball up" which dates back to 1781. (See letter
from Jeremy Bentham to George Wilson.) This phrase had the
exact same meaning, keeping a ball in the air, which is to infer
keeping the activity moving forward.
So next time you hear the expression keep the ball rolling,
you'll know from where it came.
Karyn L. Seace, of Nescio & Seace, LLP, is a certified elder
law attorney who limits her areas of practice to: elder law,
Medicaid, Medicare, tax law, special needs, estate planning, and
estate administration, with an office at 113 East Evans Street,
Suite D-2, West Chester, PA 19380, 610-436-1676, klseace@ She is Co-Chair of the Chester County Bar
Association's Elder Law Section.

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