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Lincoln's Name Was Unfamiliar to Many Americans

An 1860 Campaign Flag May Show How Obscure Lincoln Was to Many Americans


Abraham Lincoln was relatively unknown to most Americans when he began running for president, which could explain why his name was misspelled as "Abram" Lincoln on this 1860 campaign flag.
Campaign banner with Lincoln's first name misspelled.

Campaign banner with Lincoln's first name misspelled.

Getty Images

Lincoln's running mate in the 1860 campaign was Hannibal Hamlin, a senator from Maine.

The two men had never met. And most of the country had never met Lincoln.

When this campaign banner emulating the American flag was produced, Lincoln's first name was spelled incorrectly. It might seem that the printer shortened Lincoln's first name simply to save space. Yet the first Lincoln campaign biography appeared in New York City bookstores with the same misspelling in the title: "The Life, Speeches, and Public Services of Abram Lincoln."

In the early summer of 1860, America was still getting to know the man who would become the next president.

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