Title: The Two Platforms

Date: 1866

Format: Political Print

Location: Library of Congress

Link: http://www.theglobaldispatch.com/andrew-sullivan-implies-racism-in-election-going-back-to-confederacy-and-civil-war-67492/

This election poster concerns the 1866 election in the state of Pennsylvania. As would be expected coming from a northern state, this poster seems to advocate for African American suffrage. However, I found this poster interesting because while it seems to be supporting the African Americans, it depicts them in a deformed, disrespectful light, juxtaposed to the clean cut white man that Clymer supports. It seems that by illustrating African Americans in this way, it defeats the purpose of the argument. Perhaps this campaign poster is actually supporting the Democratic viewpoint because the point of African American suffrage was proving that African Americans were just as qualified to be free; however, anyone looking at this picture would assume the man to the left is a more responsible man and better equipped to vote and own property. Another interesting component of this poster is the final phrase at the bottom of the poster reading “Congress says the Negro must be allowed to vote, or the states be punished.” This provides an underlying incentive to support the African American Suffrage Movement, besides the fight for universal human rights.

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4 thoughts on “”

  1. This photo seems to highlight one of the most overlooked aspects of post-civil war America, although the north did not have slavery, it certainly had racism. I disagree that this poster advocates for African American suffrage, in fact judging by the stereotypical depictions (which you have already noted) and the condemnation that the poster has for the “radicals”, it seems that Clymer was running on a White supremacist platform. The poster says if you vote for Geary, then you’re voting for the “Negro” (with the implication that this platform will harm the white) The fact that this “us or them” dichotomy existed after the civil war is unsurprising. But that it existed so far north is.

  2. I agree with samnohra, in that this poster advocates for the white supremacist platform. I think that another key point to note is that the poster clearly depicts Clymer as a clean cut white male, while Geary is not even pictured. Instead, in place of Geary, the poster depicts a black man in a very disrespectful way, further associating Geary with African American suffrage in a negative light.

  3. When I looked at this picture I noticed how dramatic the African Americans features were compared to the white mans. Although this poster advocates for African American suffrage, I feel there is a sense of discrimination. If anything, the poster contradicts itself. Even the clothing indicates which person has more power and is more highly looked upon. If this platform wants equal voting rights for African Americans, at least draw them as closely equal.

  4. This poster is clearly arguing against expanded suffrage. The differences here are intended to be implied. The use of words such as radical and punished build a negative connotation about the specific individuals named in the poster. And the label of negro is meant to separate opponents into a non-human group. This poster came about after a pivotal time in American history, and it shows that racism would remain in the country for years to come.

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