Electoral College Controversy: Civil War, Part II?


 "Justice Brings Peace"
  Cartoonist:  Thomas Nast
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   January 13, 1877, p. 21

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
This Thomas Nast cover illustration (which was on the newsstands January 3) combines classical with traditional New Year's iconography to comment on the disputed presidential election. The old year of 1876 is the Grim Reaper, holding his scythe for gathering those marked for death and his hourglass denoting passing time, while buzzards hover overhead. The New Year's cherub offers an olive branch of peace. He is cradled by the goddess of Justice, who carries her scales and sword of justice, as the dove of peace flies above them.

In the background is the Capitol building, which in the 19th century was the common symbol of the federal government, rather than the White House, because Congress was the dominant branch in theory and usually in practice. In this instance, it was the place where Congressmen would forge a process for deciding the contested election. The quote from Shakespeare's Henry VIII encourages political leaders to be honest and do justice. For Nast that means recognizing Democratic vote fraud (not the possibility of Republican corruption) and awarding all the electoral votes in question to Hayes.













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