Electoral College Controversy: It Ain't Over Yet!


 “‘Keep Cool!’ Ten Days After the Election”
  Cartoonist:  Thomas Nast
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   December 2, 1876, p. 980

Click to see a large version of this cartoon...

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
As in the cover cartoon of this issue, “No Rest for the Wicked,” artist Thomas Nast appears in one of his own cartoons. Apparently drawn ten days after the election, “Keep Cool!” lightheartedly pokes fun at the press coverage of the presidential election, particularly the premature naming of a winner and other erroneous stories. The ticker tape reads “Hayes … Tilden … Hayes … Tilden,” while the Democratic New York World becomes the New York Changeable World, and another newspaper reads: “False as a Bulletin. Newspaper Reports.” The sensationalism of the press coverage of Electoral College controversy, mocked in the cartoon’s newspaper headlines, helped generate soaring newspaper sales during the crisis. Another major theme of “Keep Cool!,” which the artist addresses in a more serious fashion in other cartoons, is the need for the American public to remain calm during this period of uncertainty for the nation. That the caricatured Nast requires a refrigerated bathtub, a block of ice, a bellows, and a fan to keep cool implies that composure in the current political situation is not easily attained, at least by the cartoonist.












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