Republican Nomination


 "'Continue That I Broached In Jest.'-Shakespeare."
  Cartoonist:  Thomas Nast
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   June 24, 1876, p. 505

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
This Harper's Weekly cover appeared on newsstands as the Republican National Convention was beginning in Cincinnati on June 14 (the issues are postdated by 10 days). Although James Blaine was the front-runner, the outcome of the nomination was uncertain, as this cartoon indicates by the question mark on the slate, with eraser attached, and the circumspect quote from Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew.

Artist Thomas Nast places himself center-stage to reveal his choices for the Republican ticket. Hamilton Fish was President Grant's well-respected secretary of state, but was not a contender at the convention. Nast's selection of Hayes for vice-president reflects the general sentiment that the Ohio governor was the best bet to take the second spot.

While Nast's endorsement may have accorded with that of the Harpers who published the newspaper, it was not echoed on the editorial page. In January 1876 George William Curtis, the journal's longtime editor, had written a flattering commentary on Fish's tenure as secretary of state and his potential as a presidential candidate. Curtis, however, personally favored reformer Benjamin Bristow, and the editorial in the June 24 issue carried no endorsement, but instead described the character traits that any nominee should have. The surprising result of the Cincinnati Convention-the presidential nomination of Horace Greeley-is interpreted by Thomas Nast in this Harper's Weekly cover as an insult to the nation. A snickering Senator Carl Schurz presents to an offended Columbia the scepter of power, which is actually a jester's stick with Greeley's head where the orb should be. Other symbols of national authority are the Capitol Building in the right-background and the fasces (ax in a bundle of rods) on the fence surrounding the Capitol. (Fasces were carried by Ancient Roman magistrates to signify their power.) The epithet "adding insult to injury" derives from a first century (CE) Greek fable by Phaedrus. A fly bites the pate of a bald man, who forcefully slaps his own head in retaliation. The fly responds: "You wanted to revenge the sting of a tiny insect with death; what will you do to yourself, who have added insult to injury?"













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