Thomas Nast Portfolio


"A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead Lion,"Harper’s Weekly,
January 15, 1870, p.48. Wood engraving  

   The donkey first appeared as a symbol for the Democratic
Party in the 1830s when the Democrat Andrew Jackson was
President. The donkey continued in American political
commentary as a symbol for the Democratic Party thereafter.
Thomas Nast built upon this legacy and used his extraordinary
skill to amplify it. For a time, the rooster also served as the
symbol of the Democratic Party, but gradually the donkey
replaced it in popular usage after the 1880s. Nast first used
the donkey as a symbol for the Democratic Party in
"A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead Lion" published
January 15, 1870, in Harper's Weekly to comment on
Northern Democrats (nicknamed Copperheads) dealings
with Edwin M. Stanton, Lincoln's Secretary of War.


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