Newspaper, "The Log Cabin", 1840

The expansion of white male suffrage in the 1830s led to an expansive strategy of political imagery that co-opted hatchets, axes, and log cabins as empathetic symbols that could be understood by anyone. The exclusive use of such symbols masked the difficult and contentious positions of rival candidates and partisans who, with a wink and a nod, universally embraced the rough-hewn values of the American frontier.
The Whig campaign of 1840 against incumbent President Martin Van Buren established a pattern of predetermined imagery, from which later campaigns have seldom deviated. The Whigs adopted the symbols of the log cabin and hard cider to promote the candidacy of General William Henry Harrison. An outpouring of objects with designs of log cabins, such as this newspaper from July 18, 1840, soon followed.
Date made
associated person
Greeley, Horace
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
white, black (overall color)
overall: 20 1/2 in x 14 3/4 in; 52.07 cm x 37.465 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Ralph E. Becker
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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