Lot 31: ANTIQUE 1876 Thomas Nast Full Page Harper's Weekly Cartoon

The Book Barn

December 1, 2016, 7:00 PM EST
Edgewater, FL, US
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Description: Antique 1876 Thomas Nast Woodblock Art, signed in image. Thomas Nast Full Page Woodblock Political Cartoon From December 23, 1876 Issue of Harper's Weekly. Interior Page woodblock cartoon, of that Harper's Weekly issue. It is suitable for framing. Image Titled: "CAESAR, NOW BE STILL" with satiric Anti-Democratic Party content as shown in scan(s). 1876 was a presidential election year, which would end in the disputed Hayes-Tilden election struggle. This panel depicts the ongoing struggle as to who really won the presidency; Hayes or Tilden. Nast raises the speculation that Tilden would as depicted throw himself on his sword as the Romans of old when he found he had lost the election. In this Nast was being eerily predictive. Tilden should have won the 1876 election, but electoral votes from the former Confederate States were disputed---shades of the hanging chad---and in a political deal agreed to by both parties, Hayes got the votes in return for withdrawing remaining Union troops from those states & thereby ending Reconstruction government. An informal deal was struck to resolve the dispute: the Compromise of 1877, which awarded all 20 electoral votes to Hayes. In return for the Democrats' acquiescence to Hayes's election, the Republicans agreed to withdraw federal troops from the South to end the Reconstruction Era of the United States. The Compromise effectively ceded power in the Southern states to the Democratic Redeemers, who went on to pursue their agenda of returning the South to a political economy resembling that of its pre-war condition, including the disenfranchisement of black voters. The image measures approximately 13 inches X 9 inches plus borders & Harper's Weekly masthead. It is suitable for framing. Right side edge shows removal marks; other edges show light wear, which will be covered by the mat when framed. Signed in image: "TH. NAST." Overall the piece is Very Good. Thomas Nast (1840-1902) was a German-born American caricaturist and editorial cartoonist considered to be the "Father of the American Cartoon". He was the scourge of Democratic Representative "Boss" Tweed and the Tammany Hall Democratic party political machine & of the Democratic Party in general whom he considered pro-South traitors. He was also strongly anti-Irish & anti-Catholic Church, since in the 19th century the Irish strongly supported the Demogratic Party & were predominately Catholic. Nast considered the Catholic Church as a threat to American values. According to his biographer, Fiona Deans Halloran, Nast was "intensely opposed to the encroachment of Catholic ideas into public education". Among his notable works were the creation of the modern version of Santa Claus----based on the traditional German figures of Sankt Nikolaus and Weihnachtsmann----and the political symbol of the elephant for the Republican Party. Contrary to popular belief, Nast did not create Uncle Sam----the male personification of the American people----or Columbia----the female personification of American values----or the Democratic donkey, though he did popularize these symbols through his artwork. Nast was associated with the magazine Harper's Weekly from 1859 to 1860 and from 1862 until 1886. It has been argued by eminent historians that as a political cartoonist, Thomas Nast wielded more influence than any other artist of the 19th century. He not only enthralled a vast audience with boldness and wit, but swayed it time and again to his personal position on the strength of his visual imagination. President Lincoln called Nast "our best recruiting sergeant" for one of his most celebrated cartoons "Compromise with the South", which was directed against those in the North who opposed the prosecution of the American Civil War, as well as, for drawing battlefields in border and southern states. President Grant attributed his victory in 1868 to "the sword of Sheridan and the pencil of Thomas Nast." In the 1872 presidential campaign, Nast's ridicule of Horace Greeley's candidacy was especially merciless. After Grant's victory in 1872, Mark Twain wrote the artist a letter saying: "Nast, you more than any other man have won a prodigious victory for Grant----I mean, rather, for Civilization and Progress." As a crusading civil reformer he helped destroy the corrupt "Boss" Tweed Ring that swindled NYC of millions of dollars. His impact on American public life was formidable enough to profoundly affect the outcome of every presidential election during the period 1864 to 1884. 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Condition Report: Very Good Condition
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