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    [Lewis Cass]: 1848 Indiana Political Broadside. An important, unusual and rare broadside with many references to the slavery issue, 9" x 19", Lafayette, Indiana, June 17 [1848]. The purpose of this bit of political propaganda is somewhat occult. It appears to be a personal attack on J. J. Bingham, Editor of the "Sentinel" newspaper, as well as U.S. Senator Jesse D. Bright (1812-1875), a firm opponent of the abolitionists, who challenged all Free Soil Party voters at the polls on Election Day. He was the only Senator from a Northern state to be expelled from the Senate. As a leading Copperhead, he opposed the war. Bingham, as well as the editor of the "New Albany Ledger", one Mr. Lockhart, are lambasted on the bottom of the imprint. There is a woodcut of a poorly clad African American ringing a bell, like the town crier of days of yore, with the caption: "A Fac Simile - Except the Nigger. An Independent Political Movement." It reprints a call by Editor Bright for a "public meeting at the Court House... of those unwilling to wear the galling yoke of Party, as prepared for them by heartless, dishonest, trading politicians of the North, at the bidding of the Slavery Propagandists of the South.... Let us consult as to the best and most efficient method of resisting the oppressions and despotism, and of bursting the shackles of Party. Let us be Free Men, and feel as patriots only can feel, when from the honesty and fervor of their hearts, they can exclaim - 'No King But God! No Country But the Land of Liberty!"
    Normal folds, scattered ink stains, light foxing and minor burn loss along right edge.
    Read more excerpts in the extended description on line.

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    The next two entries, one a petition of sorts or political handbill signed by a number of disaffected citizens, the other an article printed in the "Lafayette Journal" on June 17, 1848, complaining about the standard bearers of the two major political parties. "Governed by no principle - basely bowing to Southern dictation - 'selling' all that is valuable of their birth-right, for a 'miserable mess of pottage', both parties unfurled their Foul Banners, bearing names written with the finger of 'availability', in base subserviency to an arrogant minority of the American people.... Shall the Model Republic, the 'home of liberty and the asylum for the oppressed of all nations", feel no sympathy those who are so nobly battling for the 'inalienable rights' of man? Let the 'peculiar institution' be confined and entrenched within its constitutional limits... and with three heartfelt cheers for the glorious principles contained in the Wilmot Proviso, the meeting adjourned to the anniversary day of American freedom." Bingham seemed to be calling for a movement of independent voters, repudiating the Whig and Democratic Parties, though for what end, who could say?

    The political situation in Indiana at this time was in upheaval. No one seemed pleased with the nominees (sound familiar?) and there were concerns that endorsing the national ticket might have negative consequences for "down ballot" candidates. We believe the author of this broadside was likely a Democrat who thought it proper to trust in experienced Democratic partisans who had proved their worth over a period of time. He seems to have painted Bingham and as his supporters as seeking "freedom" for themselves, not necessarily the slaves, as a misguided political maneuver. In reality, the Free Soil Party would hold their national nominating convention in early August. The Van Buren & Adams ticket managed to draw away enough Democratic votes (including a number of Hoosier abolitionists) to give the election to the slaveholder from Louisiana, Zachary Taylor. We think the intent of this broadside was to urge Democratic unity and loyalty.

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    September, 2016
    17th Saturday
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