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    Description

    Stephen A. Douglas: One of the Premier 19th Century Political Ribbons. We simply do not have enough superlatives to do justice to this magnificent 8 3/4" silk taffeta ribbon, issued to support Douglas's candidacy at the 1860 Democratic National Convention, June 16, 1860, in Baltimore. Titled "National Democratic Convention 1860", it has an eagle on a shield with riband reading "The Constitution", a slim and youthful portrait of Douglas and a harbor scene with agricultural products. It is lithographed using a two-color process, in black & red, by W. H. Windsor & Company of Baltimore. It is further inscribed "For President Stephen A. Douglas 'Non-intervention', the Ark of the Covenant of 1852, 1856, & 1860." Stylistically, it is reminiscent of the nominating convention ribbons issued for Harrison and Clay, particularly the outstanding multicolored Clay.

    Douglas seemed destined for the Presidency, but he made some political miscalculations along the way which doomed him to failure. These included the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act which repealed the Missouri Compromise, the repudiation of the Lecompton Constitution, and the promulgation of the Freeport Doctrine. The latter two issues created a permanent rift between Douglas and the slaveholding wing of the party. Douglas believed the principles of Popular Sovereignty and Non-Intervention would solve the vexing issue of slavery, but it merely postponed the inevitable clash of arms. This became obvious in 1860 when the first Democratic convention met in Charleston, but broke up prematurely. Plans to meet again in Richmond were abandoned before Democrats settled on Baltimore. Southern delegates walked out, then reconvened elsewhere in Baltimore, nominating Breckinridge & Lane. The remaining delegates gave Douglas the nomination he so coveted, choosing Benjamin Fitzpatrick of Alabama as his running mate. This effort to balance the ticket failed when Fitzpatrick withdrew, being replaced by Herschel Johnson of Georgia. The Democratic party had split in two. This, coupled with the nomination of Bell & Everett as "third party" candidates, insured Lincoln's election and, with that, the dissolution of the Union and civil war. Even with defeat staring them in the face, Lincoln's opponents would not unite behind a single candidate or form a fusion ticket. The consequences of this rift (unlike the Republicans in 1912 or the Democrats in 1948) were of epic proportions.
    The ribbon is in near-mint condition, with a few faint horizontal folds and some faint spotting at top and bottom, of no consequence. It is the finest example known.




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2017
    21st Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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