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Campaign Parade Torch, 1888

Campaign Parade Torch, 1888

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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.
A torch with top-hat design from 1888.
Object Name
Torch
Physical Description
metal (hat material)
black (overall color)
Measurements
overall: 5 1/2 in x 4 3/4 in x 6 1/2 in; 13.97 cm x 12.065 cm x 16.51 cm
ID Number
PL.227739.1888.H03
catalog number
227739.1888.H03
accession number
227739
Credit Line
Ralph E. Becker
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
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