MPL Talks: Political Cartooning after the Civil War

Alan Gephardt, a ranger at James A. Garfield National Historic Site, discussed the role of political cartooning in the latest program of our Civil War series.

He talked about how illustrators like Thomas Nast and Joseph Keppler affected political discourse and changed the lives of post-Civil War politicians like Boss Tweed and Presidents Grant, Hayes, and Garfield.

He also explained:

  • the origins of the donkey and elephant as totems for Democrats and Republicans, respectively.
  • how cartoonists of different political affiliations approached the same events.
  • how the artists used allegory and references to Shakespeare, Fine Art, and more to make their point.

Those who may have missed Gephardt’s talk can watch it in its entirety right now.

Our Civil War series continues with a look at Commodore John Carter, the skipper of the first U.S. iron-hulled boat, at noon on Oct. 11 at our Main Branch. The talk is free and open to all.

Other talks from our Civil War series:

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