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Free Photo: The Four Years Contract and its Progress


Free Photo: The Four Years Contract and its Progress

Description: Black and white image of one of three anti-Lincoln satires published by Nichols in Boston at around the same time. (It was deposited for copyright on June 30, 1863, along with "Oppression!! Suppressing the Press" and "The Great American What Is It? Chased by Copper-heads." The present cartoon criticizes the Lincoln administration's mismanagement of the war, the "Four Years Contract" being the presidency. A barefoot Lincoln sits on a log labeled "Fredericksburg" (site of a major Union defeat under the leadership of Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside) and holds an ax between his legs, as he receives four members of the "Committee on War" at left, who also carry axes. He says to himself, "My axe is as dull as theirs so I hid it between my legs." The Committee on the Conduct of the War was formed in 1861 to investigate recent Union military failures. In front of them is a woodpile with logs inscribed with the names of Southern cities, such as "Richmond," "Mobile," and "Charleston." Ensconced in the pile is a tiny black man who cries out, "Massar.r.r." Beneath a nearby grindstone lurks a copperhead (nickname of the Peace Democrats, who opposed Lincoln's wartime policies). The members of the committee (from left to right) report: Man with top hat: "Mr. President. There is a nigger in the woodpile dont you here him holler. Old song." Second man: "Abe., We found Fremont [Union Officer John C. Fremont] all run out, but we have fixed him up as good as new and I invented the first lie about McClellan." In 1862 Gen. George B. McClellan was relieved from command of the Army of the Potomac (some said for political reasons) and later became the presidential candidate of the Peace Democrats. Bareheaded man: "Abe--I've been in Mac's Com-sary department and found the provisions good, as I stole a sheep that he left in Maryland and twas excellent." Man carrying a large book "Committee on War Full Report": Mr. Pres. We've got axes to grind, as they got dreadful dull in trying to cut up McClellan Suggest a better description.

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