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This engraving depicts a typical scene from antebellum politics: a partisan rally at which a series of speakers roused the party faithful to action in the coming election. Such events often featured political singing, picnicking, and games. Note the large drum at left in the image. In an era in which the vast majority of American voters maintained close allegiance to a single party, these gatherings functioned less to attract voters to a single candidate than simply to motivate partisans to get out and vote. Whigs mastered the forms of this type of politics in the campaign of 1840.

For more information about politics in the 19th century, please look at Lincoln/Net's Getting the Message Out! National Political Campaign Materials, 1840-1860 Web site

Image source: Public domain
©Copyright 2002 Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project