Progressive democracy – prospect of a smash up

Progressive democracy – prospect of a smash up


Title: Progressive democracy – prospect of a smash up

Year: 1860

Creator: Louis Maurer, Lithograph, Currier and Ives

Description: Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln and running mate Hannibal Hamlin are shown about to destroy a Democratic party paralyzed by internal dissension. The Republicans ride a locomotive named “Equal Rights” toward a crossing where the wagon “Democratic Platform,” hitched to two opposing teams, is stalled on the track. The two teams try to pull the wagon in opposite directions. Horses with the heads of Stephen A. Douglas and bearded vice presidential nominee Hershel V. Johnson pull toward the left. A team with the heads of southern Democrats John C. Breckinridge and Joseph Lane strain toward the right. One of the wagon’s two drivers is an Indian identified as “a Squatter Sovereing.” As a Native American the figure may be a facetious reference to Douglas’s endorsement of the principle of popular sovereignty on the question of slavery in the territories. He also represents the Indian chief Tammany, patron of the New York City Democratic machine.
He cries, “Now then little Dug! put in and pull, while I cry Tammany to the rescue,’ for I hear a rushing sound that bodes us no good.”
The driver on the right is incumbent President James Buchanan, an important Breckinridge supporter. He cracks a whip and exhorts his team, “Come Jack, and Joe, pull up! and don’t let the other team stir the wagon I’d rather the Machine would be smashed than have them run away with it.”
Lincoln and Hamlin warn, “Clear the track!” and “Look out for the Engine, when the bell rings!”