Tilden the Hungry Wolf


 "Tilden's Wolf at the Door"
  Cartoonist:  Thomas Nast
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   September 16, 1876, pp. 756-757

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
In 1876 a proposed constitutional amendment was introduced into Congress, which would have prohibited any government body (federal, state, territorial, district, or municipal) from allocating funds to the schools or other institutions of any religious (or anti-religious) sect, denomination, or organization. (The proposed amendment explicitly protected Bible-reading in schools.) Presidential nominee Rutherford Hayes and most of his fellow Republicans endorsed the amendment, but it failed to gain sufficient Congressional backing. Ultimately, though, the movement was successful in keeping most public funds away from religious schools.

This Thomas Nast cartoon treats the Catholic attempt to secure a share of public funds for their parochial schools as a menace to the public school system (see "Education" in Issues). At the door is a hungry wolf, representing an alliance of the Democratic party and the "foreign" Catholic Church. The students of this multi-ethnic public school-white, black, Chinese, and other children-join together to hinder the wolf's entrance, while Uncle Sam reaches for a rifle. Signs attest to the public-school system as the "bulwark of the American republic" and denounce "public funds to sectarian schools."













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