Getting the Nomination | Campaigning
Getting Out the Vote | Torchlight Parades


Eagle torch carried in parades during the 1860 presidential campaign

By the middle of the 1800s, spectacular events became the hallmark of American presidential campaigns, and a highlight of every election was the torchlight parade. Hoping to rally the most apathetic voter to cast a ballot for their candidate, hundreds if not thousands of marchers in cities across the country brightened the night sky in the evenings leading up to an election.



"Hurrah for Lincoln" torch
Abraham Lincoln's 1860 campaign encouraged the use of massive, emotionally charged political parades. One observer wrote that the Chicago torchlight procession was "undoubtedly the largest and most imposing thing of its kind ever witnessed in Chicago. Unprejudiced spectators estimate the number at 10,000. Throughout the whole length of the procession were scattered portraits of ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Banners and transparencies bearing Republican mottoes, and pictures of rail-splitters, were also plentifully distributed. Forty-three bands of music were also in the procession."
Model log cabin hoisted on a pole and carried in parades by supporters of William Henry Harrison during his 1840 presidential campaign.


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