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HONEST ABE TAKING THEM ON THE HALF SHELL.
   
Complete Explanation:
A pro-Lincoln satire. The Republican candidate ponders the miniature figures of northern and southern Democratic nominees Stephen A. Douglas (left) and John C. Breckinridge (right) which he holds before him on two oyster shells. He reflects, "These fellows have been planted so long in Washington, that they are as fat as Butter, I hardly know which to swallow first." "Planted in Washington" is a cynical reference to the years of congressional experience of Lincoln's two opponents.

A sign on the wall behind Lincoln reads: "Political Oyster House., Hardshells & Softshells Constantly on hand. Democrats fried, Stewed, Roasted or on the half Shell."

Douglas, a moderate Democrat, reclines on a "Soft Shell," despairing, "I'm a gone sucker!!" Breckinridge, adamantly proslavery, is on a "Hard Shell." He exclaims, "Alas! that ever I should live to be swallowed by a rail splitter!"


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