Description

    Confidential 1856 Political Strategy Letter to Thomas Caute Reynolds. Eight pages, 7.5" x 9.5", St. Louis, June 13, 1856, from Isaac H. Sturgeon, to Thomas Caute Reynolds. This letter could stand alone as a microcosm of the issues surrounding the 1856 elections. There are references to "Know Nothings", slavery, Thomas Hart Benton, anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic sentiment, etc. The letter is a point-by-point strategy for inundating the local St. Louis newspapers with a pro-slavery message. It panders to the working-class immigrants and preys on their fears of discrimination. The letter is quite long and detailed but a few choice passages will give a flavor of the whole.
    Sturgeon, like political consultants today, understands the short attention span of the electorate and writes: "Let the articles be short making but a point or two in each article - Articles of this sort will be read much more if you can write a dozen short articles making only a point or two in each. It will be better than one long article which will be read by very few on account of its length...". He sets out the talking points: "...convince adopted citizens that their interests require them to unite with us...that the Blair faction would sell them out...aiding the Blair faction is to give the state to the K. N.'s [Know Nothings]...Effect the titles of the Catholic Church to its property for colleges and church purposes...". Sturgeon advises: "Tell them that it makes no more slaves whether Kansas comes in as a free or slave state & that it is not our business which she does...ask them if they are going to sacrifice themselves here for the sake of the negro when they can do him no good but sink themselves...Let them see that their sympathy for the human race will do no good for the party they are trying to sink...let them see too that Blair is using Col. Bentons coat tail to drag him into Congress for


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2007
    27th Saturday
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