Lincoln and Cabinet


After Lincoln’s assassination, printmakers faced a sudden demand from the Northern public for illustrations of the man that many perceived to be the savior of their nation. Prints often made reference to the Emancipation Proclamation, fostering an emerging image of Lincoln as a steadfast supporter of human freedom. This commemorative print of Lincoln reading the Proclamation before his Cabinet shares many similarities with a variety of other popular wartime and postwar prints depicting the same event. On July 22, 1863, Lincoln first revealed his plans to issue the Proclamation to his Cabinet. They were hesitant at first, but ultimately gave them his support, provided that he wait to announce it until after a Union victory. Five days after the Union Army repelled the Southern invasion of Maryland at Antietam, his Cabinet met again to revise the initial draft of the Proclamation. It was issued on January 1, 1863, and freed all slaves living in areas of the nation under rebellion. This freedom ultimately relied on a Northern military victory and the Proclamation did not affect the millions of slaves living in the Border States that had not seceded. It did, however, recognize the abolition of American slavery as a stated objective of the war and allowed Africa-American men to serve as soldiers in the Union Army.

Little is known about the work’s artist, D. Wust, or its printer, the firm of Miechel & Plumly. Beneath the illustration, a caption reads, “Annual Greeting of the Carriers to the Patrons of ‘The Press’ / For January 1st, 1866.” It was therefore likely published in late 1865 by John W. Forney, the founder of the Philadelphia Press, for distribution to subscribers sometime around New Year’s Day.

Date Made: 1865Distribution Date: 1866-01-01

Depicted: Lincoln, AbrahamChase, Salmon PortlandSeward, William HenryBlair, MontgomeryWelles, GideonStanton, Edwin McMastersSmith, Caleb BloodBates, EdwardMaker: Meichel & PlumlyArtist: Wust, D.

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Subject: U.S. National Government, executive branchCommunication, newspapersChronology: 1860-1869Patriotism and Patriotic SymbolsFurnishingsReferenced: Civil WarSubject: emancipationRelated Event: Civil War


See more items in: Home and Community Life: Domestic Life, Clothing & Accessories, American Civil War Prints, Art, Domestic Furnishings


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: DL.60.2549Catalog Number: 60.2549Accession Number: 228146

Object Name: LithographObject Type: Lithograph

Physical Description: ink (overall material)paper (overall material)Measurements: image: 6 in x 8 1/4 in; 15.24 cm x 20.955 cm


Record Id: nmah_324859

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.