Celebrating Lincoln through Stamps and Postal History

An International Admirer

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The Chinese Resistance Issue postage stamp was released to the public on July 7, 1942.

One foreign statesman who looked up to America’s sixteenth president was Dr. Sun Yat-Sen of China. Considered “a patron saint of the Chinese people in their battle against tyranny and oppression,” Sun Yat-sen sought to establish security and harmony for his country, just as Lincoln had done during his presidency. In a letter stating his hopes for China’s future, he wrote, “We wish to see established in our country the system of government which the great Lincoln, in a memorable phrase, described as ‘government of the people by the people, for the people.’”

This influential Chinese statesman is depicted on a 5-cent stamp issued by the United States on July 7, 1942. The stamp honored the heroic struggle of the Chinese people against the ruthlessness of the armed forces of Japan, who had invaded China in July 1937. The design featured portraits of Sun Yat-Sen and Abraham Lincoln surrounding a map of China. A sun surrounds Chinese characters that translates to “Fight the war and build the country." Under each portrait are the words from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address “Of the people, by the people, for the people.” The portrait of Lincoln was engraved by Marcus Baldwin of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The Post Office Department used a likeness of Sun Yat-Sen found in his publication “San Min Chi I, the Three Principles of the People.”

The 5-cent denomination of the Chinese Resistance stamp paid the first-class rate to China. The first day of issuance ceremony occurred in Denver, Colorado. Denver was a fitting location for the ceremony since Sun Yat-Sen received word in October 1911 that China was free from dynastical rule while in that city. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produced 21,272,800 of the Chinese Resistance Issue stamps for use by the public.