Stephen Douglas and the Democrats


 “The Handwriting on the Wall…”
  Cartoonist:  Unknown
  Source:  Frank Leslie’s Budget of Fun
  Date:   November 1, 1860, p. 9

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

Click to see a large version of this cartoon

Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
This postdated Budget of Fun cartoon uses the biblical analogy of Belshazzar’s Feast as a prediction that Republican Abraham Lincoln will win the presidential election. In the Book of Daniel, King Belshazzar hosts a sumptuous dinner for his rich and royal associates, at which a hand appears out of nowhere writing strange words on the wall. The prophet Daniel is called in to interpret the words, which were a promise of divine judgment on Belshazzar. The king died that evening.

Here, the warning consists of the election results from the important swing-state of Pennsylvania. It had voted Democratic in 1856, helping to send its home-state politician, James Buchanan, to the White House. In the fall of 1860, the state elected Republican Andrew Curtin as governor, foretelling that a majority of Pennsylvania’s votes would probably be cast for Lincoln on November 6. In this cartoon, President Buchanan (far right) flees in horror, while Northern Democratic presidential nominee Stephen Douglas has raised his hand defensively.













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