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Tuesday, April 9, 2024


The painting, above, “Peace in Union” depicts the surrender of Robert E. Lee to U.S. Army General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, Virginia on April 9, 1865. It is a reproduction of a painting by Thomas Nast, which he completed 30 years after the Civil War ended. 

Called the "Father of the American Cartoon," Thomas Nast (1840-1902) was an influential caricaturist and political cartoonist. Remembered for his Civil War illustrations in   Harper's  Weekly, Nast's political cartoons were also instrumental  in the downfall of Boss Tweed and the election of President Ulysses S. Grant. 

He solidified America's picture of Santa Claus by portraying him as a round, twinkly, elfin figure, which he based on descriptions in Washington Irving's writings and Clement Moore's poem "The Night Before Christmas." Nast also popularized the donkey as a symbol representing the Democratic Party and the elephant as a Republican Party symbol. 

Thomas Nast in 1870

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