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"Three to One You Don't Get It"

Topic:
Lincoln and the Republicans
Source:
Vanity Fair
Cartoonist:
Henry Louis Stephens
Date:
September 1, 1860, p. 117
Click for image enlargement and 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 backgroundóborn in a log cabin and raised in poverty with little formal educationówas 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 Lincolnís victory refers to the three other presidential candidates, Stephen Douglas, John Breckinridge, and John Bell.
Click for image enlargement and complete HarpWeek explanation >

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