The Old Print Shop


  • ARTIST: Thomas Nast

  • PUBLISHER: Published by Harper's Weekly. November 4, 1876.

  • MEDIUM: Wood engraving,

    DATE: 1876.

  • EDITION SIZE: Image size 13 3/8 x 20 9/16" (34 x 52.2 cm).

  • DESCRIPTION: This political cartoon by Thomas Nast was published just days before the presidential election of 1876. With it, Nast urges people to vote for the Republicans and not the "Solid South" Democrats. The Civil War may have ended slavery and stitched the nation back together, but there was still significant tension in the South. The Reconstruction Act had given blacks rights and liberties they'd never before known. For the first time they could vote, attend school and take up political positions. What's more, for many years anyone who had served as a Confederate politician was removed and barred from serving again, which enraged white southerners. Racism grew to violent measures, and would ultimately paint the polls with blood and fraud. <br><br> This cartoon focuses on the battered fort of the "Solid South," a term used for the Southern white voting block, synonymous with white supremacists. They've aimed their final cannon at the " Union : U.S. Constitution," the pristine fort that is across the waterway - the current, Republican run, government. This indicates their desire to win the election. In the pocket of the soldier aiming the cannon is a letter reading "Parole. U.S. Grant." A similar reference can be seen on the wall to the far left, "Paroled by Gen. U.S. Grant." This likely refers to the Amnesty Act of 1872, which returned the right to vote and take political positions to most, but not all, secessionists (amounting to some 1,100 people), who Nast now felt were rallying to destroy the country. This concept is further pushed by the posters plastered on the wall to the right - "The Solid South for Southern claims $2,503,622,386 (more than the Yankee debt). Tilden and Reform. Untamed rebels" ; "Rifle Clubs. The war for the Union shall be a failure. We must rule as we did before 1861" ; "Minute men Democrats to arms. Minute men to kill radical [Republicans] niggers"; and "Shot-gun. Shoot that nigger." Even the flag flying above the fort reads, "The Solid South against the Union." <br><br> Hiding on the left, clutching his wounded arm, is a frustrated black man. He is helpless to stop the Democrats from taking away everything the federal government had granted him. He has fallen to racism. All around him are the remains of the defeated C.S.A., but it is clear that from its ruin another hate group has risen. They now stand on the right, armed with new weapons and similar ideals, signifying that the South hadn't really changed since the end of the Civil War.


  • CONDITION: Good condition, save for minor offsetting.