Lincoln, McClellan, and the Northern Press


 “The Sham Democracy and Their Ambiguous Leader…”
  Cartoonist:  Unknown
  Source:  The Funniest of Awl and the Phunnyest Sort of Phun
  Date:   No. 4, 1864, pp. 8-9

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

Click to see a large version of this cartoon

Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
The festival at Puri, India, celebrating Juggernaut (“Jagannath” in Sanskrit), a large incarnation of the Hindu god, Krishna, involves thousands of participants pulling a huge statue of the deity through the streets on a chariot. After first encountering the event, Europeans claimed that some religiously fervid worshippers threw themselves into the path of the Juggernaut, which crushed them to death. In the mid-nineteenth century, the word “Juggernaut” began being used metaphorically to mean a powerful force that runs over anything in its path.

In this Phunniest of Awl cartoon, the Juggernaut is the Democratic Party, which crushes to death the black Americans in its path. The chariot is driven by presidential nominee George McClellan, who speaks of the party’s desire for “an armistice & compromise.” In fact, the Union general was a War Democrat who rejected the party’s peace plank. Here, McClellan is encouraged by demonic figures and joined by riotous Irish Catholics. Lady Liberty is shackled to the Juggernaut, with its “Copperhead” mascot (symbolizing Confederate sympathy) on the bow and its wheels labeled “Slavery/Prejudice” and “Oppression/Avarice.” The Sham Democracy is pulled by animals representing the New York Democratic press, James Gordon Bennett Sr.’s Herald, James Brooks’s Express, Manton Marble’s World, and Benjamin Woods’s Daily News. (Note that the elephant was not associated exclusively with the Republican Party at the time.)













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