Schoolmaster Lincoln and His Boys

Schoolmaster Lincoln and His Boys


Title: Schoolmaster Lincoln and His Boys

Year: 1861

Creator: Southern Illustrated News

Description: Waal, boys, what’s the matter with yer; you h’aint been hurt, hev yer? LOC (CONNECT TO LOC: The fourth in Strong’s series of antisecessionist satires. Here the artist is optimistic about newly elected Abraham Lincoln’s ability to end the secession movement among the Southern states. (The Library’s impression of the print was deposited for copyright on March 12, 1861, eight days after Lincoln’s inauguration). Here Lincoln stands over four mischievous boys who play in a “Secession” mudhole. He wears the costume of Uncle Sam or Brother Jonathan: striped trousers, a vest emblazoned with stars and stripes, a plain waistcoat, and a flowing tie. A toy flag of South Carolina (the leading secessionist state), a paper soldier’s hat, and a miniature pistol lie nearby. These appear to have been dropped by a small girl whom Lincoln has in tow. She squirms and bites his hand in an effort to escape his unyielding grip, crying, “You let me alone! I will play in the mud if I like!” Lincoln addresses the boys in the mudhole, “Come, Boys! they are all waiting for you–you have staid there long enough! I will forgive you this time if you will try to do better in the future. Only think what a bad example you show the other boys.” The “other boys” appear in the background, along a rail fence, where they play and sit contentedly. Four boys have already climbed from the mudhole and are putting on their clothes. One says, “Well, we’ve been playing hooky long enough; I guess I’ll go back!” Another says, “Boys, he is after us! I reckon I’ll reconsider!” and another, “If that’s Uncle Àbe,’ I’ll put my trousers right straight on again.”