The antislavery plank was a controversial feature of the 1860 Republican platform. Here Republican nominee Abraham Lincoln is shown uncomfortably straddling a rail--a dual allusion to the platform and to Lincoln's backwoods origins--carried by a black man and abolitionist editor of the New York "Tribune" Horace Greeley (right).
Lincoln says, "It is true I have split Rails, but I begin to feel as if "this" rail would split me, it's the hardest stick I ever straddled." The black man complains, "Dis Nigger strong and willin' but its awful hard work to carry Old Massa Abe on nothing but dis ere rail!!" One of Lincoln's foremost supporters in the Northeast, Greeley here assures him, "We can prove that you have split rails & that will ensure your election to the Presidency."