The Old Print Shop

The Democratic Tiger-in-the-Manger, and the Submissive (M)asses.

  • ARTIST: Thomas Nast

  • PUBLISHER: Published by Harper's Weekly. April 22, 1876.

  • MEDIUM: Wood engraving,

    DATE: 1876.

  • EDITION SIZE: Image size 9 x 13" (23 x 34.3 cm).

  • DESCRIPTION: This cartoon seems to remark on the Democratic party's control during the Long Depression (1873-1879), and the gullibility and submissive nature with which the public was taking it. One of the major battle faced by Congress during the depression was greenbacks vs. specie (paper money vs. gold-based coin currency). In general the Republicans were pro-specie while Democrats were pro-greenbacks. Democrats vied for increased production of paper money because they hoped the resulting inflation would aid suffering business. Republicans feared what long term inflation would do to the economy and instead favored specie currency, which would cause deflation. Republicans won with the Resumption Act of 1895, which allowed the Treasury to reduce production of greenbacks and ramp up production of specie currency so bills could be turned in by 1879. The greenback supporters would claim their own victory in 1878 (two years after this cartoon), however, when they overwrote the greenback limits and increased their production. Ultimately the Resumption Act would fail because the public realized paper money was worth just as much as gold-based money and were disinterested with turning them in. <br><br> In this cartoon the Democratic tiger sits in a manger filled with dollar signs. The words "The people's money," "I will not be coerced" and "What are you going to do about it?" are scratched into the mangers boards. Posters behind the tiger reflect the satirized ideals of the Democratic party - "The business of the country crippled. The closing of public buildings. Post offices, Custom-houses.... by order of King Democrat 1876" ; "King George III 1776" ; "We want all the money for Southern claims" ; "A Dead-Lock : Business of the country."


  • CONDITION: Good condition.