Saturday, February 28, 2009

Whose Lincoln?

Although I read The Corner regularly, somehow I missed this recent entry by Allen C. Guelzo. In just a few words, Guelzo says something important about Lincoln that torrents of ink often obscure. Thanks to Dimitri for noting it.

AFTERTHOUGHT: Readers may also want to take a look at Guelzo's review at Claremont entitled "Lincoln's Audition."

About the illustration:
A pro-Breckinridge satire on the 1860 presidential contest. Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln (right) and Democrat Stephen A. Douglas (left) appear as boxers squaring off in a ring before a small crowd of onlookers. Douglas is seconded by an Irishman (left), presumably representing Douglas's Democratic constituency. Lincoln is coached by a black man, who kneels at right, armed with a basket of liquor bottles, and signifies Lincoln's antislavery leanings. In the background a third candidate, John C. Breckinridge, thumbs his nose and points toward the White House. He is encouraged on his way by a number of men who cheer and doff their hats to him. Weitenkampf cites a version of the print signed by F. Welcker of Cincinnati. Whatever his identity, the artist of "The Undecided Political Prize Fight" was probably also responsible for "The Political Quadrille" and "Dividing the National Map" (nos. 1860-23 and 1860-24), judging from the strikingly similar handling of the candidate portraits in all three prints.

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