The Democratic "Chicago" Platform


 “Jeff Davis and the Chicago Platform Last Ditch”
  Cartoonist:  Unknown
  Source:  The Funniest of Awl and the Phunnyest Sort of Phun
  Date:   No. 5, 1864, p. 4 (bottom)

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

Click to see a large version of this cartoon

Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
In this Funniest of Awl cartoon, the Democratic national ticket of presidential nominee George B. McClellan (front) and vice-presidential nominee George Pendleton (back) stand atop the rickety “Chicago Platform” and attempt to assist Jefferson Davis, who is sinking in the deep waters of the Civil War. The Confederate president offers to reward McClellan, but the Union general replies that Davis will have to wait until after the presidential election on November 8. Pendleton, a Peace Democrat and congressman from Ohio, approaches with a “Peace At Any Price” plank. From the weeds of “Slavery” and “Treason,” a copperhead snake (symbolizing Confederate sympathy) slithers toward the platform.

The weights of Union military victories are pulling down the Democratic Party’s platform. The broken support beam on the left refers to Clement Vallandigham, a former congressman from Ohio who was temporarily exiled for criticizing the Union government. The next cracked support mentions the New York Democratic press: the World, edited by Manton Marble; the Express, edited by Congressman James Brooks; and the Daily News, edited by Benjamin Wood. The back support (in the shadow) alludes to Congressman Alexander Long, Democrat of Ohio, who was officially censured by the U.S. House of Representatives on April 9, 1864, for a treasonous speech. He had argued that the only alternative for the Union was to recognize the independence of the Confederacy or be defeated by it. On the broken support on the right appears the name of Congressman Fernando Wood, brother of Benjamin and a leading Peace Democrat.

The Union generals referred to in the left foreground are (top to bottom): George Meade, Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, and Benjamin Butler.













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