Campaign Lantern

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Political campaigns of the 19th century reflected popular traditions of commemoration and celebration—such as Fourth of July parades—that became familiar to many Americans in the early Republic. The mechanisms of popular politics not specifically called for in the Constitution—parties, nominating conventions, and electoral campaigns—drew freely on the evocative imagery of such festivities in promoting candidates and building the momentum of the campaign. Mass campaign spectacles arose as a way of demonstrating partisan strength and of mobilizing indifferent and easily distracted voters. The successful presidential campaign of Republican Abraham Lincoln perfected the nighttime torchlight parade in which marchers torches and lanterns, such as this one displaying an American eagle, created a sometimes provocative spectacle.
associated person
Washington, George
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
red, white, blue, brown (overall color)
overall: 16 in x 7 1/4 in; 40.64 cm x 18.415 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
George L. and Mary E. Compton
Political Campaigns
See more items in
Political History: Political History, Campaign Collection
Government, Politics, and Reform
American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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