Campaign Poster

On October 16, 1864, the Richmond Enquirer published some new beyond-the-pale demands which were not in the platform at the Chicago convention. Among them were recognition of the Confederate States as an independent country; inclusion of three border states — Kentucky, Missouri and Maryland — in the Confederacy; and payment by the Union of the Confederate war debt.

Lincoln’s reelection managers took Nast’s cartoon, added “The Rebel Terms of Peace!!” to it, and made more than a million copies as campaign posters. In tandem with the trio of critical Union victories — by Farragut, Sherman, and on October 19, by General Phil Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley (Sheridan’s Ride) — the poster had a huge effect on the electorate. Without those timely victories, however, the poster’s impact would have been diluted. Nevertheless: arguably, it was the single most effective visual campaign advertisement in any American presidential election — before or since.