Democratic Party


 "Leaders of the Democratic Party"
  Cartoonist:  Thomas Nast
  Source:  Library of Congress
  Date:  c1868

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
A searing, election-year indictment of four prominent figures in the Democratic party, three of them former Confederate officers.

Former New York governor and Democratic presidential nominee Horatio Seymour is portrayed as a "rioter." Standing in a burning city, he waves his hat in the air while he steps on the back of a crawling figure. In the background a corpse hangs from a lamppost. Between 1862 and 1864 Seymour had opposed Lincoln's war policies, and he was branded as instigator of the 1863 New York draft riots. Below the portrait are inflammatory passages from his speeches.

Tennessee general Nathan Bedford Forrest, the founder of the Ku Klux Klan, and infamous for his role in the massacre of surrendered Union troops at Fort Pillow, is called "The Butcher Forrest." He waves a flag labeled "No Quarter" and fires a pistol. Extracts from reports of the Pillow massacre are given below his picture.

Confederate admiral Raphael Semmes is portrayed as a pirate, wielding a knife in one hand and holding aloft a flaming torch in the other. Behind him flies a flag with a skull and crossbones. To the right a family cowers in fright, Semmes was the scourge of Union shipping during the Civil War. Under his command the Alabama, a British-built ship, captured 62 merchant vessels, most of which were burned. An excerpt from Semmes's July 1868 speech at mobile, Alabama, appears below this image.

Confederate cavalry officer Wade Hampton appears as a hangman. He holds his plumed hat at his side and wears a uniform embossed with a skull and crossbones and a belt inscribed "C.S.A." (Confederate States of America). In the distance three Yankee soldiers hang from a gallow.

Source: American Political Prints, 1766 - 1876: A Catalog of the Collections in the Library of Congress, 1991, by Bernard F. Reilly, Jr.












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