Honest old Abe on the Stump
Title: Honest old Abe on the Stump
Year: Springfield 1858. Honest old Abe on the Stump, at the ratification Meeting of Presidential Nominations. Springfield 1860.
Creator: R. R Wilson
Description: A caricature of Abraham Lincoln, probably appearing soon after his nomination as Republican presidential candidate. The artist contrasts Lincoln’s modest posture at the Illinois Republican state convention in Springfield in 1858 with his confident appearance at the 1860 Illinois Republican ratifying convention, also held in Springfield. The two Lincolns are shown joined at the back and seated on a stump. The 1858 Lincoln (facing left) addresses a small audience of men, including a young black man. He denies any presidential ambitions, his words appearing in a cabbage-shaped balloon: “Nobody ever expected me to be President. In my poor, lean, lank face, nobody has ever seen that any Cabbages were sprouting out.” In contrast, the 1860 Lincoln (facing right) states, “I come to see, and be seen.” There may be, as Wilson maintains, an implied criticism here of Lincoln’s reticence about his political views during the 1860 campaign, when from May to November Lincoln made no speeches except for a brief address at the meeting in Springfield. This may explain the less-than-enthusiastic, puzzled look of several of his listeners here.
The lithograph is particularly well drawn. Although clearly by a trained and able artist, it is not readily attributable to any of the major known cartoonists of the time.