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Tippecanoe Boys Broadside
Tippecanoe Boys Broadside
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In 1840 the new Whig Party nominated the renowned Indian fighter William Henry Harrison to seek the presidency. Harrison ran a successful campaign against the incumbent Martin Van Buren, who had presided over several years of national economic depression. But Harrison's election was also remarkable for the remarkable campaign that preceded it. The Whig Party came together as opponents of Van Buren's predecessor, the popular General Andrew Jackson. In an effort to return to political primacy after twelve years in the wilderness, these politicians drafted Harrison, the popular war hero. Astutely responding to a Democratic editor's slight of Harrison as a doddering old man sitting in his log cabin drinking hard cider, the Whigs styled their candidate as a man of the people in opposition to the refined New Yorker Van Buren. Whigs emphasized their candidate's log cabin abode and dubbed him "Tippecanoe" in reference to his victory in a pivotal battle against massed Indian forces in 1811. Whigs took this message to the voting public in a campaign of unprecedented vigor and complexity. A legion of Harrison stump speakers, including a young Abraham Lincoln, prowled their native states speaking out on behalf of the General. Harrison song books provided loyal Whigs with party messages in the form of ballads and odes. Party officials organized massive political rallies, including the "cabin raising" noted in this broadside. These efforts, combined with the nation's dire economic situation, helped to elect Harrison in 1840. But he died of pneumonia after only a month in office, delivering the presidency to the Vice President and erstwhile Democrat John Tyler, who quickly reverted to political form, much to Whigs' chagrin.

Image source: Chicago Historical Society
©Copyright 2002 Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project