Blair Criticized


 "Wilkes Booth the Second"
  Cartoonist:  Thomas Nast
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   November 7, 1868, p. 705

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
This front-page Thomas Nast illustration appeared just a few days before the presidential election. A corresponding news story, "The Policy of Assassination," reported that Democratic vice-presidential nominee Frank Blair and certain Democratic newspapers were predicting that, if elected, Republican presidential nominee General Ulysses S. Grant would establish a military dictatorship. Some observers claimed that Blair sanctioned Grant's assassination during the Democratic candidate's speech in St. Louis. The caption below the cartoon quotes the New York Democrat as also apparently threatening Grant's assassination if Democrats consider his victory to be the result of vote fraud.

In this cartoon Nast characterizes Marcus "Brick" Pomeroy (center), publisher of the New York Democrat, and Frank Blair (right) as protégés of John Wilkes Booth, assassin of President Abraham Lincoln. The connection between the 1868 presidential election and the Civil War is reinforced on the left side of the cartoon in the Grant-Lincoln relationship. Writing in his office, a studious Grant, with furrowed brow, adds his campaign theme, "Let us have peace," to the vow from Lincoln's second inaugural address, "with malice towards none and charity to all." A portrait of the martyred president gazes down on Grant as if to bestow his blessing. Nast's twofold message is clear: a Grant administration will fulfill the promise of Lincoln's abbreviated presidency, and the Democrats are still the party of rebellion.













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