Campaign Analogies: Sports and Entertainment


 “The Political Blondin”
  Cartoonist:  Unknown
  Source:  Frank Leslie’s Budget of Fun
  Date:   September 1, 1864, pp. 8-9

Click to see a large version of this cartoon...

Click to see a large version of this cartoon

Caption: Mr. Lincoln said recently that he was like Blondin on the tightrope, with all that was valuable in America, the Union, in a barrow. Some of the spectators cried, "A little faster, Mr. Lincoln." Another said, "A little slower, Mr. Lincoln." A third said, "Straighten your back a little more." Others shouted, "Stop a little lower." Others cried, " A little more to the South." Some, "A little more North." What would be thought, if, when Blondin was in the performance of his dangerous task, the spectators bothered him with advice, and even went so far as to shake the rope? So with me - keep quiet, and I'll wheel my barrow across. - New York Paper.

Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
This cartoon published in the September issue of Budget of Fun reminded voters of the difficult task President Abraham Lincoln had in securing the Union. He is depicted as acrobat Charles Blondin, who was famous for his daring tightrope-walks across Niagara Falls. Here, the commander-in-chief combines two of Blondin’s feats: pushing a wheelbarrow and carrying another man on his back. In this case, it is two men: Navy Secretary Gideon Welles on Lincoln’s shoulders and War Secretary Edwin Stanton on Welles’s shoulders. Salmon Chase, who resigned as treasury secretary in June, tumbles off the back of Stanton.

In the front row of the theater box on the left are Union Generals Ulysses S. Grant (left) and William T. Sherman (right). Between them, in the back row, may be General Philip Sheridan. In the front row of the theater box on the right are Confederate General Robert E. Lee (left) and Confederate President Jefferson Davis. In the row behind them may be Confederate General James Longstreet. In the right foreground are John Bull, the personification of Great Britain, and Napoleon III, the French emperor. Neither of their countries recognized the Confederacy as an independent nation despite diplomatic entreaties from the Confederate government.

A Lincoln-Blondin cartoon also appeared in Harper’s Weekly during the 1860 presidential election.













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