The Liberal Republican Movement

 “Will Robinson Crusoe (Sumner) Forsake His Man Friday? The Boat’s Crew That Is Going Over”
  Source:  Harper’s Weekly
  Date:   April 20, 1872, p. 313

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
“Will Robinson Crusoe (Sumner) Forsake His Man Friday?  The Boat’s Crew That Is Going Over” appeared in the April 20, 1872 issue of Harper’s Weekly.  The Boston Daily News called it “decidedly one of Nast’s best.”  In it, Liberal Republican Senators Carl Schurz and Thomas Tipton attempt to nudge their intractable Massachusetts colleague, Charles Sumner (as Robinson Crusoe), into accompanying them in the “Cincinnati Convention” longboat, which is destined to join the schooner, Democrat, anchored in the open waters.  Sumner, a leading promoter of black civil rights, stiffly avoids eye contact with Horace Greeley and his crew.  Sumner/Crusoe’s man Friday, representing black voters, prays on the cliff, with a “Lincoln School” in the background and the Ku Klux Klan lurking behind a tree.

In reality, Sumner was pressed heavily to support the Liberal Republican move to defeat President Grant.  The senator’s concern for his own failing health and his urgent desire to secure congressional passage of civil rights and amnesty legislation left him little time or inclination to participate in the Cincinnati movement.  In addition, he feared it could only injure his most cherished objectives if the liberals aligned later with the Democrats.  Sumner, however, opposed the president’s expansionist foreign policy and declared publicly that Grant was unfit for renomination.  Finally, on July 29, 1872, Sumner wrote an open letter to black voters, asking them to support the Greeley ticket.  He then left the country for a vacation in Europe.



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