Republicans and Democrats


 “Columbia and Her Suitors”
  Cartoonist:  Unknown
  Source:  Frank Leslie’s Budget of Fun
  Date:   August 1, 1860, p. 9 (bottom)

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

Click to see a large version of this cartoon

Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
This Budget of Fun cartoon caricatures the four presidential nominees as suitors seeking the favor of Miss Columbia. Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge totes a large piece of “Breckenridge coal,” mined in the northwest Kentucky counties of Hancock and Breckinridge (named after the candidate’s grandfather). Constitutional Unionist John Bell holds a banner jokingly announcing the 942nd edition of vice-presidential nominee Edward Everett’s oration, “The Character of [George] Washington.” Everett was a popular lecturer who delivered the Washington speech 135 times across the nation in order to promote nationalist sentiment and to raise money for the preservation of Washington’s Virginia estate, Mount Vernon.

Republican Abraham Lincoln carries a black baby in an animal trap made from a split rail. The image mocks the Republican campaign tactic of presenting the wealthy lawyer as a working-class rail-splitter in his youth, and it associates the candidate and his party with abolitionism. Northern Democrat Stephen Douglas presents a homestead representing his advocacy of “squatter democracy,” a derisive term for “popular sovereignty.” The proposed policy called for territorial voters themselves to determine whether to legalize slavery or not. Douglas’s club is labeled “Tammany” for the Democratic political machine in New York City that was supporting him. Cradling the American Eagle, Uncle Sam remarks that the nominees’ motivations are all honorable, but the picture on the wall showcases the presidential salary of $25,000 (which remained the same from 1789 until 1873).













Website design © 2001-2008 HarpWeek, LLC
All Content © 1998-2008 HarpWeek, LLC
Please submit questions to