Liberal Republican Movement


 “The ‘Liberal’ Conspirators”
  Cartoonist:  Thomas Nast
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   March 16, 1872, p. 208

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

Click to see a large version of this cartoon

Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
While waiting for the Cincinnati movement to come into clearer focus, Nast produced "The 'Liberal' Conspirators (Who, You All Know, Are Honorable Men)." The artist quotes from Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," and it can hardly be an accident that this caricature was published in the March 16 issue, one day after the Ides of March. In this cartoon, the Liberals plot against the political life of Grant (as Caesar) and are considering the inclusion of Greeley (as Cicero), who wanders past the White House, absorbed in his Tribune and with a paper-"What I Know About Bolting"-in the pocket of his long, white coat/toga. Cicero was a Roman senator, orator, and enemy of Julius Caesar, but the other conspirators in Shakespeare’s play decided to leave him out of the plot.

In the context of the drama, Senator Carl Schurz (as Brutus) listens to conspirator Senator Reuben Fenton (as Metellus Cimber), an early Greeley ally. Senator John Logan of Illinois stands between the shoulders of Fenton and Senator Lyman Trumbull, also of Illinois. The two senators at the right are Charles Sumner of Massachusetts and Thomas Tipton of Nebraska. Logan was distressed by his presence in this and other Nast cartoons, insisting that he had not broken with Grant. The cartoonist would later try to make amends to the senator.













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