Saturday, September 27, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Thomas Nast!

Born September 27, 1840. Died December 7, 1902.

He was one of the most influential cartoonists in American history. Of course, some of his cartoons -- like the above one, for example -- were not quite that influential but as a whole, I would like to think he has done more good than harm -- especially in regard to political reform. Of course, it could be argued that some recent scandals involving the American branch of the Roman Catholic church have given new meaning to the above cartoon, anyway, but I'll leave that argument to another day.

Anyway, Nast's cartoons helped take down the corrupt New York politico Boss Tweed and of course, Nast also helped to create the modern version of Santa Claus as well as the Republican Party's elephant symbol. He did not invent the symbol of Uncle Sam nor did he invent the Democratic Party's donkey symbol but his work helped make those symbols more popular. Indeed, it is safe to say that without his cartoons, the United States would be a very different place from what it is today.

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