Democratic National Convention


 “The Death-Bed Marriage”
  Cartoonist:  Thomas Nast
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   July 27, 1872, p. 584

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
"The Death-Bed Marriage" of Greeley's Liberal-Republicanism to "The Daughter of Democracy" took place at Baltimore on July 10, 1872, and was duly celebrated in this grim caricature. Long-time Republican Horace Greeley kneels to take, for better or worse, the moribund hand of the Democratic party which has nominated him as its presidential candidate. The sarcastic use of the N-word in the subtitle refers to a 1868 Nast cartoon, "Would You Marry Your Daughter to a Nigger?," which wondered if the anti-black Democratic party might nominate civil rights veteran, Salmon Chase. (They did not.) Here, the term refers to Greeley, the former abolitionist, and underscores the abandonment of his principles.

In the left-foreground the Democratic/woman's dowry of "Fraudulent Votes," "Stuffed Ballot Boxes," and "Tammany Ring Money Stolen From the People" is stacked in crates and boxes. Complementing the unhappy couple, an equally mismatched and grotesque wedding party of grieving Tammanyites, Democrats, and embittered Liberal Republicans are gathered to endure the moment. Behind Greeley on the right, Whitelaw Reid is holding the former editor's trademark white hat and coat; the pocket of the latter contains a publication, "The Recollections of a Busy-Body, By H.G."

The long-haired figure on the far-right is Theodore Tilton, editor, evangelist, and lecturer. In his jacket pocket is a book, Life of Mrs. Woodhull, a biography Tilton had written about Victoria Claflin Woodhull. She was an outspoken advocate of women's rights and free-love, who in 1872 became the first woman nominated for president (running on the Equal Rights ticket). Shortly before the election, she revealed evidence of an affair between Tilton's wife and the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, perhaps the most popular and well-known evangelist in the country. The scandalous revelations led to one of the nation's most widely-reported and sensational trials.













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