Thomas Nast

Artist's Biography

Out of the Ruins.

Wood engraving, 1873.
Image size 10 7/8 x 9 1/4" (277 x 234 mm) plus masthead.
Good condition.
LOCATION: New York City

Inventory Number: 59931
Price: $75.00
Publisher : Published in Harper's Weekly. October 18, 1873.
Additional text reads "U.S.G. (Chief of U.S. Police). 'I am glad to see that you are not seriously hurt. The Houses in this 'Street' have been Shaky and on false Bases for a long Time, and you've had a very Narrow Escape.'"

The Panic of 1873 had a devastating affect on Wall Street. Problems with the economy, including the failure of numerous railroad companies that had been heavily invested in, led to a financial crises. Many banking and investment firms closed or suspended services in September that year. Brokers and businessmen urged President Grant to increase the printing of greenbacks (paper money), while bankers urged him not to. Greenbacks would increased inflation, which would only help in the short term. Grant agreed with the bankers, who favored the gold standard. His efforts would help ease the damages, but ultimately could not stop the Long Depression that followed on its coattails.

In this cartoon President Ulysses S. Grant, depicted as a police officer, helps Columbia, the personification of America, out of the Wall Street rubble. In this way the artist, Thomas Nast, claims that by refusing inflation he has saved the nation.
18th-19th Century Subjects , Financial , Financial Caricatures