Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Democratic Racism Artifact



"George McClellan: Fabulous 1864 Racist Broadside. 

With slavery as the backdrop to the Civil War, the presidential campaign of 1864 played out along black & white lines. Lincoln was accused of abandoning the original reason for the war, restoration of the Union, and changing it to a crusade for abolition. He was also accused of ignoring the Constitution, not taking the war-time casualties seriously and burdening the country with a debt that would be decades in the repayment. 

The Democrats were against the abolition of slavery, against Negro equality and against granting equal rights and protection to blacks, slave or otherwise. This 23" x 18.5" broadside, printed in black and orange, plays to this bias and is a quintessential example of negative campaigning. We have seen a similar piece that predicts dire consequences if McClellan was elected (vertical format, printed in black only), but it pales in comparison to this one which plays the race card to the hilt and exploits voter fears. 

The Republicans, who called themselves the National Union Party in 1864, are designated as "The Black Republican Ticket", a pejorative term first coined in 1856 and a catchword for abolitionists. Their success will bring on "Negro Equality, more Debt, Harder Times, another Draft! Universal Anarchy, and Ultimate Ruin!" (They were not pulling any punches here!) McClellan's election, in contrast, would "defeat Negro Equality, restore Prosperity, re-establish the Union! In an Honorable, Permanent and happy Peace." 

We [Heritage Auctions, Dallas] are aware of only one other example which resides in a private collection. This example has been handsomely matted and framed. It has undergone some restoration which has not affected any of the lettering... only the vertical rule lines in the center. In the true tradition of broadsides, it includes eight different fonts. It is not only graphic, but really tells the story of the 1864 campaign and its two protagonists, Abraham Lincoln and George McClellan ."

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