Abraham Lincoln, c. 1857 (printed c. 1860)
Unidentified artist, after Alexander Hesler
Albumen silver print
“Stand by your principles, stand by your guns.”
This tiny copy of Alexander Hesler’s 1857 “tousled hair” portrait was produced in 1860 so that it could be cut out, placed in a frame, and worn as a campaign pin or locket during the campaign.
Such partisan political symbols had long been a staple of American elections, but the heated political climate of 1860—and the need for the Lincoln organization to mobilize all its supporters—led to a plethora of new and creative ways to energize a public immersed in the political culture of the time.
Political participation and partisanship was a major source, probably second only to religion, of most Americans’ identity in the mid-nineteenth century. Wearing Lincoln’s likeness was a particularly personal way for good Republicans to flaunt their allegiance to both man and party as they joined in the public rituals of American politicking.