Home > 1856-1892 Campaigns, 1868 Campaign > 1868–Tanner Cartoon–Justin Snow

1868–Tanner Cartoon–Justin Snow

The second piece from the campaign is a cartoon that ran in Harper’s Weekly during the campaign. It too alludes to Grant as a tanner, giving an indication that this was something the Grant campaign pushed quite hard. 

In this pro-Grant cartoon, he is labeled “The Great American Tanner.” Grant is pictured with a ragged apron and a plain white shirt with the sleeves rolled up. He has a cigar in his mouth. He looks like the everyman. To his left are once again his three “references”: Lee, Pemberton, and Buckner.  Each of them is holding their backsides like they’ve just had their hides tanned. To Grant’s right is Seymour and Frank Blair, the Democratic presidential and vice presidential candidates. Seymour looks timid with his hands folded and Blair looks somewhat ridiculous in an ordained uniform. They are both being escorted by New York gubernatorial candidate John Hoffman, who was the leader of of New York City’s Tammany Hall Democrats. This sect of the party tended to be more reform minded, which could be indicated by Hoffman’s native American dress. 

The power of the Tammany Hall Democrats, which was associated with New York’s political machine, could also be indicated by Hoffman’s sheer size in comparison to Seymour and Blair. As he delivers the two to Grant, he tells him that there are two more hides to be tanned. Grant responds that he’ll finish them off in early November, meaning election day. 

Much like the first piece of campaign material, this cartoon works well. It reinforces the image the Grant campaign was trying to form of Grant as one of the people, a simple tanner who happened to become a good soldier. It also links the Democrats with the Confederates. Although this is not done directly, by making the Democratic nominees the next ones Grant needs to tan after three Confederate generals, it seems to group them as similar in nature. This indeed played a role in the campaign with the Civil War still fresh in the minds of many Americans and the Republicans running on the fact that many Democrats defected after Lincoln’s election and became members of the Confederacy. 


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