Lincoln and the Republicans


 "Three to One You Don't Get It"
  Cartoonist:  Henry Louis Stephens
  Source:  Vanity Fair
  Date:   September 1, 1860, p. 117

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Caption: [Variation on the popular interpretation of the meaning of the Pawnbroker's Sign]

Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
Like today, political parties in the 19th century tried to cultivate an image of their candidates as men in touch with the common people, with the average voter. Although Lincoln had become a prosperous lawyer, his background—born in a log cabin and raised in poverty with little formal education—was a perfect fit for the self-made man myth. In this Vanity Fair cartoon the artist represents Lincoln as a rail-splitter, a frequent caricature of him. President James Buchanan appears as a tiny, frightened dog guarding the White House, which is depicted as a pawnshop, an allusion to Buchanan administration corruption uncovered by the Covode investigation (a Congressional inquiry that found substantial evidence of influence-peddling and other wrongdoing in the Buchanan administration). The three-to-one odds that Buchanan places against Lincoln’s victory refers to the three other presidential candidates, Stephen Douglas, John Breckinridge, and John Bell.












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