Republicans and Democrats


 "The Political Game of Bluff"
  Cartoonist:  Henry Louis Stephens (illustrator) / George Wevill (engraver)
  Source:  Vanity Fair
  Date:   May 12, 1860, p. 313

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

Click to see a large version of this cartoon

Caption: As neither section of the old Democratic Party will make any nomination at present, the Black Republicans, instead of seeing the enemy's hand, have first to show their own."

Charleston Democrat. - I see that, and call you. What have you got?

Chicago Republican. - A pair of deuces, with a knave at the head.

Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
The Democratic National Convention met in Charleston, South Carolina, in April 1860. It was assumed that the Democratic nominee would be known when the Republican National Convention convened in Chicago in May. But the disagreement between Northern and Southern Democratic delegates over the issue of slavery in the territories caused a split in the party with each faction scheduling their own convention for June. As May rolled around, the Republicans had to choose a presidential nominee without knowing whom the Democratic nominee would be.

In this cartoon, the image of William Henry Seward, the leading Republican candidate for the nomination, appears in the portrait on the wall, while his name is on a piece of paper on the floor. The cartoonist assumes that Seward will be nominated.

"Black Republicans" refers to a label that Democrats applied to Republicans, whom they accused of being abolitionists. The Republican party opposed the expansion of slavery into the western territories, but denied that the federal government had the authority to abolish slavery in states where it already existed (i.e., in the South). To Democrats, that was a distinction without a difference.













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