THE COFFIN HANDBILLS – slander and libel intended to defame
To continue our scandal series, we want to talk about one of the first accusations of murder!
Andrew Jackson’s opponents wrote and distributed a series of handbills/posters adorned with coffins. Each coffin was labeled for supposed war crimes and other misdeeds attributed to Jackson:
- Slave trader
- Killer of deserters
- Leader of massacres on Indian villages
The term “Coffin Handbill” became synonymous with a smear attack on political candidates.
*Congressman John Taliaferro (Virginia) wrote a pamphlet, A Supplemental account of some of the bloody deeds of General Jackson, in which he accused Andrew Jackson of “atrocious and unnatural acts”—slaughtering 1,000 unarmed Native Americans, taking a nap amidst their corpses, and eating a dozen [of them] for breakfast. The congressman went on to suggest that Jackson might do the same with his political opponents once elected President. Oy vey!
Do you think he did it?