19th Century


The 1864 GOP National Convention and ‘the Little Squad of Bolters’

250px-Republican_presidential_ticket_1864b.jpgEvery four years the American political parties gather to nominate their presidential candidate. The months preceding the conventions are often the most fractious periods in American politics as spring turns to summer and internecine squabbles turn to feuds. This was particularly true in 1864.

As the National Union Party convention in Baltimore neared the young Republican Party was at risk of being torn apart. An uncompromising faction of the party, the Radical Republicans, opposed nominating President Lincoln for a second term and even held their own convention in Cleveland. They objected to the president’s policy on slavery, his administration of the war, and his post-war plans which they found too lenient.

Most Radical Republican leaders expected the Confederates to be treated severely after the war. In early January 1864, under the headline “The Logic of History: Bloodthirsty Venom of the ‘Loyalists,’” the Wisconsin Daily Patriot printed the following:

During the summer of 1863, according to the Washington Chronicle, Jim Lane, a Republican United States Senator from Kansas, made a speech in Washington, in which he gave utterance to the following bloodthirsty sentiments:

“I would like to live long enough to see every white man in South Carolina, in hell, and the negroes inheriting their territory.”

[Loud applause.]

The 1864 GOP National Convention and ‘the Little Squad of Bolters’

"Equal power and privileges": Victoria Woodhull, First Woman Nominated for President of the United States

Victoria_Woodhull_by_Mathew_Brady_c1870.jpg

In 2016 Hillary Clinton became the first woman to win a major political party’s nomination for U.S. president. While she campaigns this year to earn the votes of as many men and women as possible, the first woman to run for America’s highest office did so at a time when only men had the right to vote. Although Victoria Woodhull knew her 1872 bid for the U.S. presidency would be considered outlandish, she understood that a female bid for the presidency would be seriously considered in the future.

In the presidential election of 1872 Woodhull faced Republican Party nominee Ulysses S. Grant, Liberal Republican Party nominee Horace Greeley, and several others.  Coverage of the Woodhull campaign, as found in Early American Newspapers, gives a unique perspective of the public response to her audacious role in American politics.

Reporting reveals Woodhull to have been an electrifying public speaker who expressed her opinions, no matter what the response. The press seemed to have enjoyed making a spectacle of her public speeches and depicted them as well-attended, rowdy events:

"Equal power and privileges": Victoria Woodhull, First Woman Nominated for President of the United States

History Professor Mark Summers Speaks about Gilded-Age Politics at Readex-Sponsored ALA Event [VIDEO]

With incredible energy and expertise, Mark Wahlgren Summers brought history to life with his dynamic interpretation of 19th-century political campaigns for the librarians and educators who attended a Readex-hosted breakfast during the American Library Association’s Annual Conference in Orlando. Summers, the Thomas D. Clark Professor of History at the University of Kentucky, where he has taught for the last 32 years, entertained the crowd with his highly animated lecture titled “Politics is just war without the bayonets”: Dirty Politics in a Genteel Age, 1868-1892.

Here, he describes stump speeches, often delivered at train stations, across the campaign trail:

 

Summers didn’t just tell the crowd about the past, he helped them experience it with his lively retelling, leading attendees to make comments like this:

 

For most historians, the Gilded Age was the Golden Age of American politics. Well before football or baseball found a vogue, it was the great participatory sport. Families turned out for parades, rallies and barbecues. Campaign clubs designed ornate uniforms and hired brass bands to precede them as they marched. Eligible voters in record numbers showed up at the polls. Watch the full presentation to understand why Summers warned that to be wistful for those days is a grave mistake.

History Professor Mark Summers Speaks about Gilded-Age Politics at Readex-Sponsored ALA Event [VIDEO]

“Glory to God! See the Vermonters go it!”: Highlights from The American Civil War Collection

Other CW 2 sm.jpgThe current release of imprints from The American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society includes an intimate recollection of the first Union general to die in the war, an account of a nostalgic return of aging veterans to the scenes of their service in the war, and a remembered account of a peculiar phenomenon experienced by Union soldiers in Louisiana.


Personal Recollections of General Nathaniel Lyon. Prepared by Companion Brigadier-General William A. Hammond, U.S.A. (1900)

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This imprint is striking, in part, because of the biographies of the author and his subject. Nathaniel Lyon was a general in the U.S. Army early in the Civil War. He had served in both the Second Seminole War and Mexican-American War. He was killed in Missouri on August 10, 1861 at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek becoming the first Union general to die in the conflict. William A. Hammond, a physician, served as the Surgeon General of the United States Army from 1862 to 1864. After the war he became the first American to dedicate his career exclusively to neurology authoring many books and articles on the subject. Late in life Hammond authored this memory of his time with Lyon in the years before the war when both men were posted at Fort Riley.

“Glory to God! See the Vermonters go it!”: Highlights from The American Civil War Collection

“Achievements that should not be omitted”: Highlights from The American Civil War Collection

The May release of the American Antiquarian Society’s American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922, includes:

• an unusual account of the role that American Indians played in assisting the Union Army in the Trans-Mississippi Theater

• the diary of a young gentleman from Massachusetts recounting his nine months of service in the Union Army’s campaign in North Carolina

• and a program detailing the 1904 National Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic in the city of Boston. 


The Union Indian Brigade in the Civil War (1922)

By Wiley Britton 

The American Civil War Collection includes various accounts of the role that African Americans, both free and enslaved, played in the war on both sides. It is unusual to read an account of the participation of American Indians in the conflict. Wiley Britton provides a detailed and laudatory history of

“Achievements that should not be omitted”: Highlights from The American Civil War Collection

“A common railer and brawler”: Highlights from The American Slavery Collection

The May release of The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society includes a document arguing that slavery enslaves the owners as well as the enslaved, written by a woman who had lived in the American South, an account of an abolitionist address that ends when the minister delivering it is arrested, and the affecting address to the court from a man found guilty of assisting a fugitive slave in making an escape. 


Influence of Slavery upon the White Population. By a Former Resident of Slave States (1855) 

This tract, published by American Anti-Slavery Society in 1855, was written by Louisa Jane Whiting Baker. She establishes her position at the outset:

A true understanding of the nature and influences of American slavery forces the conviction that this system renders the master no less a “victim” than the slave. The attractive elegances of social life may deceive the superficial observer; but a deeper insight will discover, under this light drapery, not only a world of secret misery, but of hideous corruption.

“A common railer and brawler”: Highlights from The American Slavery Collection

“The stylus of history shall make a truthful record”: Highlights from the American Antiquarian Society’s Civil War Collection

The April release of The American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society includes a richly illustrated pictorial history of the war, an essay by a Scottish aristocrat on the causes of the war, and a history of the decade leading to the war written by an abolitionist correspondent from Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune whose views underwent revision and revelation. 


The Pictorial Field Book of the Civil War in the United States of America

By Benson J. Lossing, LL.D. Illustrated by many hundred engravings on wood, by Lossing and Barritt, from sketches by the author and others (1879) 

The promise of the title is not in vain. Indeed, this three-volume work is profusely illustrated. The citation assigns the imprint to the genres of Intaglio prints and Relief prints among others. Further, the citation also references many engravers and illustrators, by name, whose work contributed to the history. Appreciation of this imprint is enhanced by some knowledge of Benson John Lossing, a 19th-century American historian. 

“The stylus of history shall make a truthful record”: Highlights from the American Antiquarian Society’s Civil War Collection

“A Very Surprising Narrative of a Young Woman, Who Was Discovered in a Rocky Cave!” and Other Highlights from the American Antiquarian Society’s Supplement to Early American Imprints: Shaw-Shoemaker

The April release of newly digitized material available in the American Antiquarian Society Supplement to Early American Imprints: Shaw-Shoemaker includes a cautionary account of the death of a child, a captivity narrative which is likely false, and a beautifully illustrated display of engraving ciphers. 


Obituary of Charles Petit, a boy who lately died at the Orphan Asylum, in New York (1818) 

This pamphlet was published by the Philadelphia Female Tract Society and printed by Lydia R. Bailey (1779-1869), one of the most successful women in the 19th-century printing business. While it was not unusual for women to be printers, most commonly because they were the widows or daughters of male printers, Bailey was distinctive. She was active for nearly 50 years and upon her retirement was considered to be the last of the widow printers as the industry and society evolved. 

In contrast to Bailey’s long and successful life, Charles Petit was a poor orphan whose death at an early age is here related.  

“A Very Surprising Narrative of a Young Woman, Who Was Discovered in a Rocky Cave!” and Other Highlights from the American Antiquarian Society’s Supplement to Early American Imprints: Shaw-Shoemaker

“Sweetly Thrilling Symphonies”: Highlights from Black Authors, 1556-1922

The April release of Black Authors, 1556-1922: Imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia includes two late 19th-century collections of biographical sketches, one of African American musicians and a second including a wide range of influential African Americans. Also found in the current release is a history of African American troops in the Civil War. 


Music and Some Highly Musical People (1878) 

By James Monroe Trotter 

In 1842, James Monroe Trotter was born into slavery in Mississippi. Freed by their owner, he and his two sisters and mother, Letitia, moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where Trotter could grow up in freedom. Prior to the Civil War, Trotter taught in Ohio and met Virginia Isaacs, his future wife. During the war, he served, and was promoted quickly, in the 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. After the war, he worked in the Post Office Department in Boston and as Recorder of Deeds in Washington, D.C. 

Trotter begins this volume by asking, what is music? And then offers this elegant answer:  

“Sweetly Thrilling Symphonies”: Highlights from Black Authors, 1556-1922

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