Push things! Says Grant (maybe).

It’s rumored that General Philip Sheridan, after his victory at Five Forks during the Civil War, wired General Ulysses Grant: “If things are pushed I think [General Robert E.] Lee will surrender.” Grant replied: “Push things.” Sometimes Sheridan’s message is reported as “We are getting along well; but it would be better if things could be pushed.” 

But it’s likely an appropriation of what is by now a much more well-known (and verifiable) story about a telegram Abraham Lincoln sent to Grant: “Gen. Sheridan says ‘If the thing is pressed I think that Lee will surrender.’ Let the thing be pressed. A. LINCOLN.”

Regardless, “Push things” was worked into Grant’s 1868 presidential campaign, as a slogan and a campaign song, reportedly published in the weekly edition of  the New York Tribune on October 28, 1868. The Baltimore American even invoked it while encouraging its readers to vote for Grant: “We therefore say to every friend of General Grant in Maryland, it is your bounden duty to the great cause in which you are engaged to ‘push things’ with all the strength, energy and perseverance [of which] you are capable.”

It’s generally accepted that political campaign buttons of this style didn’t begin to appear until around the time of the 1896 presidential campaign, so it’s unclear exactly who re-appropriated “Push things” for this button.Via Heritage Auctions, HA.com

Push things! Says Grant (maybe).

It’s rumored that General Philip Sheridan, after his victory at Five Forks during the Civil War, wired General Ulysses Grant: “If things are pushed I think [General Robert E.] Lee will surrender.” Grant replied: “Push things.” Sometimes Sheridan’s message is reported as “We are getting along well; but it would be better if things could be pushed.”

But it’s likely an appropriation of what is by now a much more well-known (and verifiable) story about a telegram Abraham Lincoln sent to Grant: “Gen. Sheridan says ‘If the thing is pressed I think that Lee will surrender.’ Let the thing be pressed. A. LINCOLN.”

Regardless, “Push things” was worked into Grant’s 1868 presidential campaign, as a slogan and a campaign song, reportedly published in the weekly edition of the New York Tribune on October 28, 1868. The Baltimore American even invoked it while encouraging its readers to vote for Grant: “We therefore say to every friend of General Grant in Maryland, it is your bounden duty to the great cause in which you are engaged to ‘push things’ with all the strength, energy and perseverance [of which] you are capable.”

It’s generally accepted that political campaign buttons of this style didn’t begin to appear until around the time of the 1896 presidential campaign, so it’s unclear exactly who re-appropriated “Push things” for this button.

Via Heritage Auctions, HA.com

15 Notes

  1. therestlessupnorth reblogged this from retrocampaigns
  2. historgasm reblogged this from retrocampaigns
  3. and-also-lace reblogged this from retrocampaigns
  4. massivelyangryfeminist reblogged this from retrocampaigns
  5. historytellsastory reblogged this from retrocampaigns
  6. crimpitycrimpity reblogged this from retrocampaigns
  7. emotionallysluttyspinster reblogged this from retrocampaigns
  8. buildthemagoldenbridge reblogged this from retrocampaigns
  9. retrocampaigns posted this