King Andy by NastAmerican politics has always been pretty rough, but perhaps no period was as bare-knuckled and partisan as the Reconstruction era.  The confrontations involved more than just political combat between Democrats and Republicans.  There were factions at odds with factions.  Most notably, President Andrew Johnson waged war against Radical Republicans.  These men had once been Unionist allies, but now found themselves in bitter disagreement over Reconstruction policy in the South.  The result of this escalating conflict was the impeachment crisis of 1868.  Thomas Nast, a leading cartoonist for Harpers Weekly depicted this crisis in a brilliant series of cartoons for the magazine.  Please browse the selection of these cartoons and select one that seems to embody some of the most important insights from Eric Foner’s history of the period.


Impeachment — 1 Comment

  1. The confrontations that lead to the impeachment of Andrew Johnson were extremely important to the progression of the country at that time. Even within sides of an faction, there were disagreements about what actually defined the country moving forward. At this point in time, I think there aren’t a lot of people that qualify to be president. The opposing sides of the fights were so drastically different that it was difficult to get laws passed and policies in place, and it was extremely complicated and challenging to unite both sides and come to an agreement. I think that the political cartoons depict the crisis in the time extremely well, and were probably very controversial at the time. The cartoon “Shall I Trust These Men, And Not This Man?” struck me because it was one of the issues that had factions within the faction of giving blacks rights. I found it very striking the way he depicts white men to the black man, because I think at the time this was very uncommon for a cartoonist to do, especially in a major magazine. This shows the progression of the time and the weight of their decisions.

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