Lincoln and Cabinet

Lincoln and Cabinet

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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.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
Date made
distribution date
Lincoln, Abraham
Chase, Salmon Portland
Seward, William Henry
Blair, Montgomery
Welles, Gideon
Stanton, Edwin McMasters
Smith, Caleb Blood
Bates, Edward
Meichel & Plumly
Wust, D.
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Physical Description
ink (overall material)
paper (overall material)
image: 6 in x 8 1/4 in; 15.24 cm x 20.955 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection
U.S. National Government, executive branch
Communication, newspapers
Chronology: 1860-1869
Patriotism and Patriotic Symbols
Civil War
Civil War
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Cultural and Community Life: Domestic Life
Clothing & Accessories
Domestic Furnishings
American Civil War Prints
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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