Stephen Douglas and the Democrats


 “The Prodigal Son”
  Cartoonist:  Unknown
  Source:  Wide-Awake Pictorial
  Date:   November 1, 1860, p. 5

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
The prodigal son in this Wide-Awake Pictorial cartoon is Mayor Fernando Wood of New York City. Stephen Douglas is a fire-crew foreman who grudgingly allows him to rejoin the Democratic machine. At the Democratic National Convention in April 1860 at Charleston, South Carolina, Wood had sided with the Southern faction in opposition to Douglas’s presidential candidacy. However, after the party split and nominated two separate presidential candidates—Douglas and John Breckinridge, fear of Republican success in the key electoral state of New York compelled Wood and his Mozart Hall political machine to work with the rival political machines of Tammany Hall and Dean Richmond’s Albany Regency in support of Douglas. The “filthy bed clothes” in the cartoon’s caption may refer to Wood’s strange political bedfellows at the Charleston Convention, the Southern Democratic supporters of John Breckinridge.













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