The Old Print Shop

"Lead Us Not Into Temptation."

  • ARTIST: Thomas Nast

  • PUBLISHER: Published by Harper's Weekly. September 19, 1868.

  • MEDIUM: Wood engraving,

    DATE: 1868.

  • EDITION SIZE: Image size 8 15/16 x 13 13/16" (22.6 x 35.1 cm).

  • DESCRIPTION: Captions below the image read, "'Let us have Peace.' - Republican Candidate for President" on the left; "'What the Confederacy fought for would be won by the election of Seymour and Blair.' - Vance" in the center; and "'Let the President disperse the carpet-bag State Government' - Democratic Candidates for Vice President." <br><br> In this cartoon the artist, Thomas Nast, holds nothing back to ridicule the Democratic party. He has depicted their candidate, Horatio Seymour, as the devil incarnate. Beside him is a gentleman, perhaps Jefferson Davis, in a confederate uniform. In his pocked is a paper reading "Parole C.S.A. Gen Grant." Davis, the former Confederate President, had been arrested for treason after the Civil War, but made bail in 1867 (the year before this cartoon was made). <br><br> Seymour was against the Radical Reconstruction act that had followed the end of the war. Under it many Confederate supporting Democrats had been removed from power to help ensure the rights and liberties of the black community. The country would see what would happen when the reconstruction ended in 1877, but for many it was already obvious. Behind Seymour is the grisly scene. "Road to War and Ruin" is written on the stone wall. Blacks hang from a tree. John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated President Lincoln, stands as a martyr for the "K.K.K." and "C.S.A." Above him are the words "Secession not dead. Slavery." The vice presidential nominee, Francis Blair, sharpens his ax upon a whetstone. <br><br> Opposing this view is Columbia, the personification of America. She gestures to the Capitol building on the left, where the rainbow of "Peace" arcs over its steeple. Here a monument to the fallen Union soldiers is being finished and stands near a statue of Abraham Lincoln, both representing the bravery and integrity of the country under Union leadership. Hundreds of people surround the capitol, a sign of a thriving nation. A handsome harvest rests at Columbia's feet. An overflowing hay wagon, a train engine and the sails of many ships in the distance symbolize America's growing industry. The nation, Nast is saying, is prospering under it's current leadership. Voting in the Democratic devil, Seymour, would only bring ruin and damnation.


  • CONDITION: Good condition.