Democratic National Convention


  Cartoonist:  Thomas Nast
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   July 6, 1872, p. 528

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
With this cartoon, artist Thomas Nast sets the stage for the scheduled coalition of the Liberal Republican and Democratic parties at the latter's convention in Baltimore on July 9-10. In another retreat into the convenient characters of Shakespeare, Greeley is Antonio, the Merchant of Venice, presented by his crafty friend and supporter, Senator Reuben Fenton (as Bassanio), to August Belmont, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, represented as Shylock, the long-suffering yet apparently accommodating money-lender.

This stereotyped image is obviously based on a general knowledge of Belmont's Jewish heritage, his situation as a veteran agent of the House of Rothschild, and his status as an international banker. Contrary to the theme of this cartoon, he had never supported Greeley and strongly favored diplomat Charles Francis Adams for the same nomination. Belmont had been the guiding spirit of the fragmented Democratic party organization since 1860, but no longer enjoyed the confidence of his party. He would resign his chairmanship as soon as his duties at the Baltimore convention were completed.













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