As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are temporarily closed. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time and will provide updates on our website and social media.

Campaign Parade Torch, 1888

Campaign Parade Torch, 1888

Usage conditions apply
Downloads
Description
The successful presidential campaign of Republican Abraham Lincoln perfected the nighttime torchlight parade as an entertainment of unprecedented scale that attracted the attention of men, women, and children. The concept originated in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1858, and was revived for Lincoln’s campaign by the city’s young Republicans. Tailored oil-resistant enameled cloth capes distinguished the marchers, some of whom were too young to vote. Their example spread from Hartford to cities in the northeastern United States, which contributed traveling companies totaling some ten thousand uniformed men with torches to a Grand Procession in New York City on October 3, 1860. The martial spectacle—including fireworks, Lincoln “Wide Awake” transparencies, and floats—created envy among the city’s Democrats, and panic among southern sympathizers who regarded the torch-lit parade as a provocation.
This canteen-shaped torch is from 1888.
Object Name
Torch
Physical Description
tin (overall mateial)
Measurements
overall: 2 1/2 in x 4 1/2 in; 6.35 cm x 11.43 cm
ID Number
PL.227739.1888.H13
catalog number
227739.1888.H13
accession number
227739
subject
Political Campaigns
See more items in
Political and Military History: Political History, Campaign Collection
Government, Politics, and Reform
American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith
Exhibition
Exhibition
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

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.

Note: Comment submission on our collection pages is temporarily unavailable. Please check back soon!

If you have a question or require a personal response, please visit our FAQ or contact page.