Home > 1856-1892 Campaigns, 1868 Campaign > 1868–Harper’s Cartoon–Justin Snow

1868–Harper’s Cartoon–Justin Snow

Another example of campaign rhetoric from the 1868 election is another cartoon from Harper’s Weekly. Whereas the last pro-Grant cartoon portrayed Seymour as timid and almost innocently dumb, this one does the opposite. Seymour is depicted as Satan. Also present are Columbia and what appears to be a male voter. The voter is centered between the two, with Columbia trying to draw him towards the light and Seymour trying to draw him towards the darkness. 

Essentially, the cartoon claims that a vote for Grant is a vote for the “road to peace,” as is carved on a rock above Columbia. In contrast, a vote for Seymour is a vote for the “road to war and ruin.” To emphasize this, the side that features Columbia shows the Capitol Building and an open sky. There are Civil War memorials for the Union as well as farming tools, which seem to symbolize prosperity and economic growth. Seymour, however, is shown with a tail and hoofs for feet like some kind of beast. His hair has been drawn in a way to make it appear like horns. Behind him is what seems to be the lynched corpse of an African-American. Blair can be seen sharpening a sword and above him is a bust of John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, with the words “slavery,” “CSA,” and “KKK” carved above him. There are several captions, one of which is Biblical. “Lead us not into temptation,” reads one. There are also several quotations that contrast Grant’s plea for peace with the rhetoric of Blair, demanding the president disperse the “Carpet-Bag State Government.” 

This cartoon is a prime example of waving the bloody shirt. Republicans have directly linked the Democrats to the Confederates and the Ku Klux Klan. Not only that, they have taken it a step further and made the debate about a struggle between good and evil. Although the previous two examples of pro-Grant campaign rhetoric appeared to be far more focused on Grant’s character, making their allusions to Democratic collusion with the Confederacy minimal, this is far different. Its implication are blatant.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_1868 

http://elections.harpweek.com/1868/cartoon-1868-medium.asp?UniqueID=21&Year=1868 

http://elections.harpweek.com/1868/cartoon-1868-medium.asp?UniqueID=5&Year=1868

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