Abraham Lincoln, now one of our most revered presidents, was far from universally popular when he ran for the presidency in 1860. Many people, including some fellow Republicans, considered him an inexperienced country bumpkin. Opposition newspapers described him variously as “a third-rate backwoods lawyer,” “a man of few talents,” and “a fourth-rate lecturer who can’t speak good grammar.” The Democrats labeled him a “rail splitter,” a sneering reference to his early life as a farmer. They said, “We want a statesman, not a rail splitter, for president.” The attacks didn’t stop with Lincoln’s election. His enemies continued to fling insulting nicknames at him, such as Despot, Buffoon, Old Scoundrel, and Ignoramus Abe.
Tags1850s 1890s 1940s 1960s Activist actor Affiliation allegiance background ballot form Bill British campaign campaign trail candidates celebrity church Civil war Communism congress conservative constituent corruption demographic draft dodger election english-speaking expenditure Facade first lady fundamentalist government Government spending high-school educated ideology influence Journalists loyalty male membership military moratorium mormon Mud slinging news nickname obstruction opposition Party platitude President Presidential election Pro-war Project Religion Religious reporters reporting Republican party revenue rhetoric right-wing slavery small government small town speech state supreme court tax cuts taxes Voter Voting white house witch hunt working class