Liberal Republican Movement


 “Will Robinson Crusoe (Sumner) Forsake His Man Friday?”
  Cartoonist:  Thomas Nast
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   April 20, 1872, p. 313

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
The Boston Daily News called "Will Robinson Crusoe (Sumner) Forsake His Man Friday?": "decidedly one of Nast's best." Liberal Republican senators Carl Schurz and Thomas Tipton attempt to nudge their intractable Massachusetts colleague, Charles Sumner (as Crusoe), into accompanying them in the "Cincinnati Convention" longboat, which is apparently destined to join the schooner "Democrat" anchored in the open waters. Senator Sumner, a leading promoter of black civil rights, stiffly avoids eye contact with Greeley and his crew.

Sumner-Crusoe's man Friday, representing black voters, prays on the cliff that the senator will not join the bolt. The pillars of black advancement, free schools and free labor, are symbolized respectively by the "Lincoln School" in the background and the hoe and the upturned work hat on the ground. The documents in the hat-emancipation and protection-link the vital steps taken by Lincoln and Grant for black Americans. Behind the tree, however, lurks members of the Ku Klux Klan, ready to strike upon Sumner's departure.

The Democratic ship in the background flies the flags (l-r) of the Confederacy, the Ku Klux Klan, the corrupt Tammany Ring, and "Truce"-referring to the 1864 Democratic plank calling for a cease-fire and negotiated settlement of the Civil War. On the left side of the ship, the terms "Slavery" and "C.S.A." (Confederate States of America) have been scratched out. In the "Cincinnati Convention" boat, Greeley stands in front with "What I Know About Emigration" in his pocket. He is flanked by Justice David Davis of the U.S. Supreme Court seated on the left and former Confederate president Jefferson Davis, holding a "bailed by H.G." paper on the right (see "What I Know About Horace Greeley"). Peering from behind Greeley is Senator Lyman Trumbull, with 1868 Democratic presidential nominee Horatio Seymour standing with oar aloft behind Trumbull. On the left side behind Davis (front to rear) is: Senator Reuben Fenton, former president Andrew Johnson, Senator James Doolittle of Wisconsin, and 1868 vice presidential nominee Frank Blair.

In reality, Sumner was pressed heavily to support the Liberal Republican move to defeat President Grant. The Massachusetts senator's concern for his own failing health and his urgent desire to secure Congressional passage of civil rights and amnesty legislation, left him little time or inclination to participate in the Cincinnati movement. In addition, he feared it could only injure his most cherished objectives if the Liberals aligned later with the Democrats. Yet, the senator opposed the president's expansionist foreign policy and declared publicly that Grant was unfit for renomination. Finally, on July 29, Sumner would write an open letter to black voters, asking them to support the Greeley ticket. He then left the country for a vacation in Europe.













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