Seth Kaller, Inc.

Inspired by History

Other Civil War and Reconstruction Offerings


Other Prints Offerings


Currier & Ives Cartoon Mocks Stephen Douglas for Campaigning in 1860
Click to enlarge:

This Currier & Ives political cartoon depicts Stephen A. Douglas, hat in hand, wearing a wooden leg and saying, “Gentlemen ‘I’m going to see my mother,’ and solicit a little help, for in running after a nomination, I fell over a big lump of Breckenridge, and have been very lame ever since.” Democratic Virginia Governor Henry A. Wise responds, “He looks like a smart little man, and if I were not Wise, I’d go my pile on him.” Behind Wise, Constitutional Union Party candidate John Bell says, “I think I’ll give him a trifle in New York currency.” In the background to the right, Southern Democratic candidate John C. Breckinridge stands with a cane and bandaged foot, and President James Buchanan offers him a wooden leg as well, saying, “Here, Breck, as Dug has taken the stump, you must stump it too.” Breckinridge replies, “Well old Buck, if you say so, I suppose I must, but I know it will be of no use, for I feel that I haven’t got a leg to stand on.” Meanwhile, Abraham Lincoln leans against a rail fence at the far right and says, “Go it ye cripples! wooden legs are cheap, but stumping wont save you.

[STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS]. “Taking the Stump, or Stephen in Search of His Mother,” Printed Political Cartoon. New York: Currier & Ives, 1860. 1 p., 17 x 13½ in.

Inventory #27253       Price: $3,500

Historical Background
Initially, after receiving the Democratic nomination, Douglas declared he would not campaign, as was the tradition for presidential candidates. This cartoon’s title is based on a trip Douglas took ostensibly to visit his elderly mother in northern New York and places from his childhood in Vermont. When the trip took a month and he never reached his mother, it became clear it was really a campaign trip, with Douglas often speaking several times a day, though he claimed to be “speaking a little just for exercise.”

His prospects in New England were slim, but supporters convinced him he might carry most of the states, except Massachusetts. In August, he made a special whirlwind tour of Maine. However, in statewide elections there in September, voters gave Republicans almost total victory: 159 of 182 state legislative seats, all six Congressional seats, and the governorship. Two months later, in the national election, Maine gave 62.2 percent of its votes to Lincoln and only 29.4 percent to Douglas.

A follow-up cartoon entitled “Stephen Finding ‘His Mother’” portrays Columbia whipping Douglas for dividing Democrats and bringing scorn from Republicans.

American lithographer Nathaniel Currier (1813-1888) and his partner since 1857 James Ives (1824-1895) published this cartoon, probably drawn by lithographer Louis Maurer (1832-1932), whom they employed from 1852 to 1860.

Condition: Verso has evidence of glue at each corner, and some residue bleeds through slightly to form whitish blemishes on the front corners.

Add to Cart Ask About This Item Add to Favorites