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Making America: A History of the United States, Brief Second Edition
Carol Berkin, Christopher L. Miller, Robert W. Cherny, James L. Gormly, W. Thomas Mainwaring
Primary Sources

Introduction | Questions to Consider | Source | Related Links

Political Symbols
Thomas Nast

This early political cartoon by Thomas Nast used symbols to illustrate the contrast between the Republican and Democratic parties. Although these symbols did not originate with Nast, he is credited for popularizing them through his work in Harper's Weekly in the late 1860s and early 1870s. Think about the use of pictures to illustrate ideas as you answer the following questions.

Political Cartoon
  1. Which political party does the elephant symbolize?

  2. Which political party does the donkey symbolize?

  3. Think about the characteristics of these two animals and explain why they might have been used to symbolize their respective parties.

  4. Why do you think political cartoons are still popular as ways of expressing ideas and opinions?



Source: Libary of Congress Collection


Related Links

  • Thomas Nast
    Includes several examples of Nast's work and a brief biography.