This week in Newspaper Sunday, we take a look at how the press covered a presidential campaign in the era when candidates didn't really campaign much at all.
- Fremont Journal, June 15, 1860: The story of how Abraham Lincoln became known as "The Rail Candidate."
- New York Tribune, June 30, 1860: A front-page advertisement for an introductory biography of Lincoln in one of the nation's largest newspapers underscored that the candidate was still relatively unknown to much of the country. Incidentally, the book advertised for a dollar in the summer of 1860 can be read today at Google Books: The Life and Public Services of Abraham Lincoln.
- New York Tribune, August 9, 1860: Lincoln did not campaign, but a huge rally to support him was held in his hometown on August 8, 1860. The New York Tribune mentioned the "immense mass meeting" the following day.
- New York Tribune, August 13, 1860: A brief report related how Lincoln, seeking to depart from his enthusiastic supporters at the Springfield rally, humorously described himself as "a disturber of the peace."
- Fremont Journal, August 17, 1860: A lengthy report on the rally in Springfield included a description of the enormous parade on its way to the gathering passing by candidate Lincoln's house. Lincoln stood on his porch "and very modestly received the cheers of the assembled thousands."
- Bloomsburg Columbia Democrat, August 18, 1860: The image of Lincoln as "Honest Old Abe" had been resonating in the country. In response, a supporter of one of his opponents gave a mocking speech in the House of Representatives, ridiculing Lincoln's image and belittling his capabilities.
- New York Tribune, August 10, 1860: The United States was about to change. Consider this: an article noted that one of Lincoln's opponents, John Bell of Tennessee, owned slaves. It would be the last election in which a slave owner would be running for president.
- New York Tribune, October 4, 1860: Lincoln supporters calling themselves Wide-Awakes had been vigorously campaigning in northern cities. On October 3, 1860 the Wide-Awakes held a colossal torchlight parade in lower Manhattan. "Only the great military reviews of Europe can be compared in massiveness with this monster demonstration of Lincoln men," reported the New York Tribune.
- New York Tribune, November 7, 1860: Lincoln was elected on November 6, 1860. The next day's New York Tribune broke the news in a small item, giving electoral results and tersely noting, "That will do."
Note: after visiting the links to the newspaper articles, use the "persistent link" on the excerpt page to view the entire page of the newspaper at the Chronicling America site of the Library of Congress.
Photograph: Abraham Lincoln, confident candidate, photographed on August 13, 1860 by Preston Butler in Springfield, Illinois/Library of Congress
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