Campaign Poles

Campaign Poles (HMWZE)

Location: Springfield, IL 62701 Sangamon County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 48.041', W 89° 39'

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(Left) Campaign poles sported flags and banners, such as this one from 1844 supporting Lincoln's hero, Henry clay. Lashed to Lincoln's 120-foot presidential Ash Pole in 1860 was a broom—- signifying Lincoln's intent to sweep corrupt Democrats out of Washington's Augean stables.
(Below) Child's Campaign Apron.

Campaign poles were a staple of political campaigns in Lincoln's time. Democrats erected Hickory Poles—-evoking party hero Andrew Jackson )"Old Hickory"). Whigs (and later Republicans) erected Ash Poles—-honoring Henry Clay (whose estate was named "Ashland"). During the 1844 Clay-Polk presidential contest, Democrats erected a 150-foot-tall Hickory Pole here in front of the Register office. On top was an American flag sewn by the Democratic ladies of Springfield. Party leaders encouraged young men to bring their "sweethearts" and old men their "wives and daughters" to the sunrise pole raising. Whigs scoffed that "buzzards were observed...flying around in graceful circles some hundred feet above the pole." They, in turn, raised a 214 1/2-foot Ash Pole—-the tallest in the nation—- that weighed an estimated 22,000 pounds and took over two hours to raise. On the first attempt a guy rope broke and the pole fell, crushing one worker and crippling another. Whigs unjustly accused Democrats of cutting the rope.

Children also participated in Lincoln-era politics. During the 1844 campaign, processions of Democratic boys and girls saluted cheering crowds here at the Hickory Pole in front of the Register office on their way to visit Illinois's Democratic Governor, Thomas Ford. "It was beautiful to behold the youth of both sexes thus engaged so early in the cause of their country," gushed the Register's editors. Ford proudly observed, "Who knows but one of you may live to be President of these United States." When Lincoln ran for president in 1860, children were part of the crowds inside the Republican "Wigwam." During the Civil War, a group of Republican school children, aided by two soldiers, confronted a pistol-toting woman and tore down a Confederate flag that she had posted in front of her Springfield house.

Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 at 12:38pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 273125 N 4408995
Decimal Degrees39.80068333, -89.65000000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 48.041', W 89° 39'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 48' 2.46" N, 89° 39' 0.00" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)217
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 431 E Adams St, Springfield IL 62701, US
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