Stump Speaking

Stump Speaking, George Caleb Bingham, 1853-54

Stump Speaking, George Caleb Bingham, 1853-54

Stump Speaking presents a view of two politicians campaigning in a rural Missouri town. In a letter to a friend, George Caleb Bingham described the candidates, writing:

In my orator I have endeavored to personify a wiry politician, grown gray in the pursuit of office and the service of party. His influence upon the crowd is quite manifest, but I have placed behind him a shrewd clearheaded opponent, who is busy taking notes, and who will, when his turn comes, make sophisms fly like cobwebs before the housekeeper’s broom.

Their audience is made up of men of various social standing, some of whom listen closely to the speaker, while others gather around the watermelon wagon, converse, or struggle to stay awake. This work is part of Bingham’s Election Series, which illustrates different stages of the American political cycle.

Leave a Reply