Mondale-Ferraro campaign poster

Politicians used the American Flag to embellish their public image

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By Jenny Cobb, Associate Curator of Exhibitions

The United States Flag is one of the most powerful symbols in American life and is often utilized during political campaigns. This 1984 campaign poster for Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro is based on French artist Eugene Delacroix’s 1830 painting, Liberty Leading the People. The poster’s artist, Kip Overton, adapted Delacroix’s painting to cast Ferraro in the role of Lady Liberty. With an American Flag in one hand and a bayonet in the other, Ferraro leads a crowd in revolution. 

Geraldine Ferraro was the first female vice presidential candidate representing a major American political party. Her running mate, Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale, can be seen to her left in a top hat carrying a bayonet with an ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) flag attached to it. An inset image of Delacroix’s original painting is at the bottom of the poster. Today, public figures continue to rely on the flag’s rich symbolism to promote their image.

American Flags, on view from September 30, 2016 to January 16, 2017 in the Museum’s third-floor Rotunda Gallery, is the first Bullock Museum exhibition to explore the transformation of the many variations of the red, white, and blue into the flag of today. Based on one of the preeminent flag collections in the world assembled over more than 30 years, this inspiring exhibition features more than 25 historic flags.

See this and other artifacts on the Interactive Texas Map

Mondale-Ferraro campaign poster Artifact from Austin, Texas
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