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Medalets: Historical Background

Medalets or tokens were introduced during the Andrew Jackson era between 1824 and 1832. Some medalets had holes so that a ribbon could be attached. These were worn as either lapel pins or badges.

This exhibit is courtesy of the Macy Hallock collection.

"Cause" Token in Favor of William Henry Harrison 1840

The "Hard Times Token" was named for the Depression during the term of Martin Van Buren. This token referred to the Federal Government's intervention into banking. It brought about the donkey as a political symbol.

John C. Fremont - Republican 1856

The first presidential candidate of the Republican party advocated "Free Soil, Free Speech." This political token promotes Fremont and his running mate, William Dayton as "The People's Choice."

Millard Fillmore - Know Nothing 1856

The American Know Nothings led by Millard Fillmore ran on a campaign devoted to unity of the country. Some of the slogans were "The Union Forever," "No North No South but the Whole Country," and "Our Country."

Abraham Lincoln - Republican 1860

The Rail Splitter theme for Lincoln's 1860 campaign was designed to show that he was a man of the people. An appeal is being made to the western voter in this example of"The Rail Splitter of the West."

John Bell and Edward Everett - Constitutional Union 1860

Two ferrotypes appear on this token. A ferrotype or tintype was a photograph taken on sensitised film supported on a thin sheet of enameled tin or iron. This party supported the idea of preserving the Union through compromise on the issue of slavery.


Updated February 22, 2009
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