Thomas Nast Portfolio
Pardon/Franchise, Harpers Weekly, August
p.488-489. Wood engraving.
Weekly and Nast favored what was seen as
a radical policy of Reconstructionboth of the Union itself
and of southern societywith the enfrachisement 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?
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