Skip to main content

As a public health precaution, all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo will temporarily close to the public starting Saturday, March 14 until further notice. Please continue to check back frequently at npg.si.edu or si.edu for updates. In the meantime, please explore our website, resource materials and online exhibitions. 

Political "Blondins" Crossing Salt River

Political "Blondins" Crossing Salt River
Usage Conditions Apply
Artist
Currier & Ives Lithography Company, active 1857 - 1907
Sitter
Abraham Lincoln, 12 Feb 1809 - 15 Apr 1865
Stephen Arnold Douglas, 23 Apr 1813 - 3 Jun 1861
James Buchanan, 21 Apr 1791 - 1 Jun 1868
John Cabell Breckinridge, 15 Jan 1821 - 17 May 1875
John Bell, 18 Feb 1796 - 10 Sep 1869
Edward Everett, 11 Apr 1794 - 15 Jan 1865
Horace Greeley, 3 Feb 1811 - 29 Nov 1872
Date
1860
Type
Print
Medium
Lithograph on paper
Dimensions
Image: 27 x 42.2 cm (10 5/8 x 16 5/8")
Sheet: 34.3 x 46 cm (13 1/2 x 18 1/8")
Mat: 55.9 × 71.1 cm (22 × 28")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
Object number
NPG.85.149
Exhibition Label
The polarizing issue of slavery and its extension into the West is the crux of this political cartoon depicting the presidential candidates in 1860. In their attempts to cross “Salt River,” Abraham Lincoln teeters on a rail balanced by the abolitionist Horace Greeley. Stephen Douglas, the champion of popular sovereignty, a doctrine that lets voters decide their region’s political and economic destiny, is falling off of the “Non Intervention” rope, while President James Buchanan carries John C. Breckenridge across the rope labeled “Slavery Extension.” John Bell and his running mate, Edward Everett, stand on the “Constitutional Bridge,” proclaiming that it is “the only structure that connects these two shores [North and South] in an indissoluble bond of union.”
The name “Blondins” in the title refers to the Frenchman Charles Blondin, who created a sensation in the summer of 1859 when he crossed the Niagara River repeatedly on a tightrope.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection