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Miscegenation, or the Millennium of Abolitionism – Stirring Fear of Interracial Marriage Before 1864 Presidential Election
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The second in a series of four racist political cartoons published in 1864 by Bromley & Company, which was closely affiliated with the Copperhead New York World newspaper. These prints sought to undermine Abraham Lincoln’s chances for reelection by branding him as a “miscegenationist” and playing on white fears of “race-mixing.” The cartoon scene pictures several interracial couples enjoying a day at the park, eating ice cream, discussing wedding plans, and a woman’s upcoming lecture. Two African American families have white employees, a carriage driver and footmen and a babysitter.

The only other example traced at auction brought $7,800 in 2010.

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN]. [RACISM]. Print. “Miscegenation, or the Millennium of Abolitionism.” Political Cartoon. New York: Bromley & Co., 1864. 1 p., 20¾ x 13⅝ in.

Inventory #25614       Price: $7,800

American politics had long played on fears of sexual relationships between races. A powerful new word for “race-mixing” was coined in an anonymous December 1863 pamphlet entitled Miscegenation: The Theory of the Blending of the Races, Applied to the American White Man and Negro, published in New York. Purporting to advocate the virtues of the “blending of the white and black races on this continent,” it was a literary forgery prepared by The World managing editor David Goodman Croly and reporter George Wakeman. The authors were unsuccessful in their attempt to trick President Lincoln into endorsing the work.[1]

At the far left of the image, Abraham Lincoln declares, “I shall be proud to number among my intimate friends any member of the Squash family, especially the little Squashes.” The African American woman to whom he is speaking replies, “I’se ’quainted wid Missus Linkum, I is, washed far her ’fore de hebenly Miscegenation times was cum. Dont do nuffin now but gallevant ’round wid de white gem’men! he-ah! he-ah! he-ah!

Senator Charles Sumner says, “Mr. President! Allow me the honor of introducing my very dear friend, Miss Dinah Arabella Aramintha Squash.” A white carriage driver complains in the background, “Gla-a-ang there 240t! White driver, white footmen, niggers inside, my heys! I wanted a situation when I took this one,” while a black man in the carriage tells his companion, “Phillis de_ah dars Sumner. We must not cut him if he is walking.” A black woman at a table tells a white man with her, “Ah! Horace its-its-its-bully, ’specially de cream,” and he replies “Ah! my dear Miss Snowball we have at last reached our political and social Paradise. Isn’t it extatic?

To the right are two couples embracing, each a white woman and an African American man. The first white women tells her partner, “Oh! You dear creature. I am so agitated! Go and ask Pa,” to which he replies, “Lubly Julia Anna, name de day, when Brodder Beecher shall make us one!” The second white woman says, “Adolphus, now you’ll be sure to come to my lecture to morrow night, won’t you,” to which he answers, “I’ll be there, Honey, on de front seat, sure!” In the background are various immigrant minorities viewing the scene. One exclaims, “Most hextwadinary! Aw neva witnessed the like in all me life, if I did dem me!” and another adds, “Mine Got, vat a guntry, vat a beebles!” An Irish girl complains, “And is it to drag nagur babies that I left old Ireland? Bad luck to me.

Manton Marble, the editor of The World, collaborated with printmaker Bromley & Company to issue a series of four anti-Lincoln “Political Caricatures.” The present example was the No. 2 in that series.[2] No. 1 was “The Grave of the Union, or Major Jack Downing’s Dream[3]; No. 3 “The Abolition Catastrophe. Or the November Smash-up”; and No. 4 “The Miscegenation Ball.”

Republicans responded by trying to turn the “miscegenation” charge against the Democrats. A Republican print, “The Political ‘Siamese’ Twins: The Offspring of Chicago Miscegenation,” pictures McClellan and Pendleton joined together despite their very different ideas on ending the war.

Although Abraham Lincoln won New York states’ electoral votes in 1860, Stephen Douglas had carried New York City and its environs. Financial elites, fearing that civil war would ruin business, and recent immigrants fearing competition with free black labor, supported Douglas. Lincoln’s unpopularity in New York City during the Civil War was a factor in the deadly 1863 Draft Riots.

In 1864, Lincoln again won the states’ electoral votes while New York City favored his Democratic opponent McClellan. In fact Lincoln’s majority dropped from 50,136 votes in 1860 to only 7,373 votes in 1864, with approximately 50,000 more total votes cast than in 1860.[4]

Bromley and Company continued to sell the caricatures after the election, as this January 1865 advertisement from an Ohio newspaper makes clear. Another advertisement assured purchasers that the set of four prints, available for $1, were “sent on wooden rollers to insure safe carriage.”[5]

The World (1860-1931), a daily independent newspaper, was published in New York City. Alexander Cummings founded it as a religious Republican outlet in 1860. August Belmont and others purchased it in 1862, changing the editorial focus. With editor Manton Marble (1834-1917), The World soon became the country’s leading Democratic newspaper. In 1864, Union authorities shut down The World and another paper for three days after they published forged documents purportedly written by Lincoln that were really part of a hoax to manipulate the price of gold. The paper actively supported George B. McClellan against Lincoln in 1864.

Condition

Fine for exhibit despite flaws. Cropped with loss of “Political Caricature No. 2” from top edge and part of printed pricing information from bottom edge, publisher’s name rubbed out from the copyright statement, lacking ½" from lower left corners, a few short tape repairs by the edges, a 2" closed tear through the second dialogue bubble along the top edge, and a 3" closed tear parallel to the right edge. Mount remnants on verso.

Exhibition History: The NYHS exhibit “Lincoln and New York” had this print on display in 2009. An image traveled in 2013-2014 as part of a 10-section set of panels.


[1] Author of Miscegenation to Abraham Lincoln, September 29, 1864 (with enclosed copy of pamphlet), Rare Book Collection, Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

[2] Advertisement from Clearfield Republican (Clearfield, Pennsylvania), July 27, 1864, 3:3.

[3] Satirist Seba Smith (1792-1868) of Maine created the character of Major Jack Downing in 1830, and dozens of Downing letters were circulated in newspapers throughout the country between 1830 and 1857. Downing was an uneducated Yankee philosopher, and the character enjoyed such success that others openly imitated him. Smith was one of the first writers to use American vernacular in humor and coined the word “scrumptious” and the phrase “there is more than one way to skin a cat.” His work influenced later humorists Artemus Ward and Will Rogers.

[4] “Official Vote of New-York,” The New-York Times, November 22, 1864, 5:2.

[5] The Ashland Union (Ohio), January 25, 1865, 3:4; The Ashland Union, November 9, 1864, 3:3.


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