Thomas Nast Portfolio



“Pardon/Franchise,” Harper’s Weekly,
August 5, 1865, p.488-489.
Wood engraving.

     Harper’s Weekly and Nast favored what was seen as a radical policy of Reconstruction—both of the Union itself and of southern society—with the enfranchisement of African American men as a central element. But in the summer of 1865, radical Republicans faced strong public opinion in favor of lenient treatment of the South, speedy restoration of the Union, and good feelings, which would leave former slaves with little more than freedom. Columbia, symbolizing the nation, ponders the supplicating southerners, led by General Robert E. Lee, who hope to be restored to their rights and privileges as American citizens. How sincere is their repentance, she wonders? Shall I trust them with civil rights and the power of the vote, but not give the disabled African American Union veteran the same rights?

"Franchise," "Pardon,"
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