The Democratic National Convention

 “Bringing the Thing Home—(Dedicated to the Baltimore Convention)”
  Source:  Harper’s Weekly
  Date:   July 13, 1872, p. 548

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

Click to see a large version of this cartoon

Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
“Bringing the Thing Home—(Dedicated to the Baltimore Convention)” was published in the July 13, 1872 issue and was on the newsstands July 3, almost a week before the start of the Democratic National Convention.  It was clearly intended to exert maximum divisive effect on Southern delegates coming to Baltimore.  The Tribune quickly pointed out (on the first day of the convention) that the caption beneath the cartoon had not appeared in Greeley’s newspaper on the given date, and implied that Harper’s Weekly had committed an intentional forgery.  Two weeks later an editorial in Harper’s Weekly (dated July 27) noted that the quotation had been taken from the Tribune of May 1, 1861, three weeks after Fort Sumter had been fired upon, rather than the incorrect date (November 26, 1860) set under the cartoon.

In the cartoon, Nast’s harsh, malicious image depicts Horace Greeley smirking over the anticipated miseries of defeated Confederate soldiers returning home after losing the Civil War.  They find their land devastated, their homes destroyed, and their families suffering in abject poverty and despair.  Undeterred by the cartoon’s message, desperate Democrats accepted the entire Liberal-Republican platform at their own convention, which Greeley could view with guarded satisfaction as a necessary step forward.  Nast, however, perceived this coalition as a cynical repudiation of virtually everything for which the Tribune editor had stood previously.

This Nast cartoon figured in at least two large broadsides (posters) during the 1872 campaign.  The Republican State Central Committee of Georgia issued one, accompanied by numerous Tribune editorial extracts on a variety of inflammatory subjects.  The Republican National Committee distributed 1˝ million copies of another single-sheet piece of campaign literature, particularly targeting the South, in the final weeks of the campaign.  It consisted of Nast’s wood engraving on one side and 25 excerpts from Tribune editorials and Greeley’s other writings and speeches on the other side.  The cartoonist later concluded that this satire of Horace Greeley gloating over the devastation of the post-war South was one of the most effective he had ever drawn.



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