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Rail Splinters

Campaign woodcuts in illustrated magazines, symbolism or adornment?

January 4, 2011

As shown in previous articles, primary source material has proven essential in determining occult facts in our political history. Illustrated magazines often have graphic woodcuts of campaign rallies based on what were truly “foreign“ correspondents of the day; namely, English and French artists and reporters working in New York or Washington. A page from a French publication from 1860, simply titled “The Picture, A Universal Journal” has three detailed pictures of Lincoln, Douglas and Bell partisans in their “marching mode”. There are similarities and differences. All three groups carry American flags, torches and transparencies. The Lincoln and Bell “agents” wear unadorned kepis. All three captains or parade marshals carried glass lanterns and hold marshals’ batons. The Lincoln supporters are distinguished by their rain-proof capes, Pitkin double-swivel torches and an oversize ax labeled “Rail Splitter”. The Douglas boys are a tough-looking crew who wear their regular street clothes and hats. The Bell advocates hold brass bells which they ring, have bells on the collars of their distinctive tunics, and carry two transparencies (a shallow tombstone-shaped gizmo and an inverted Bell). Such magazines make wonderful adjuncts to a collection of 1860 campaign paraphernalia, especially one that contains any of the objects depicted therein. And, it also teaches us that not all glass lanterns or unadorned red, white and blue kepis were used by members of the Wide Awakes.