by Emliee Dehmer
This painting, titled “Stump Speaking in Knoxville,” was painted in 1840 by an unknown artist.
Stump speaking is what they would call gatherings in which the people running for office would come and speak about why you should vote for them, or the person they wanted to win. It was called stump speaking because they would stand on tree stumps to speak.
You might not know it, but this painting shows someone you may have heard of before. The man speaking is future President James K. Polk. He is shown here trying to get votes for presidential candidate Martin Van Buren and announcing his own re-election campaign for governor. Polk would get the nickname “Napoleon of the Stump” (a reference to French political leader Napoleon Bonaparte) because he was short and a skilled speaker.
Now, take a closer look at these paintings. You’ll notice there are some differences in them. See if you can spot all 5! If you get stuck, don’t worry- the answers are at the bottom of the page.
The 5 Differences Are:
Man on the platform is wearing a top hat
The water in the bucket is brown, not blue.
The umbrella is missing
There is an extra set of horses and riders.
The tree is missing in the right corner.
Emilee Dehmer is an Educator at the Tennessee State Museum.