Incumbent president and Republican Ulysses S. Grant easily won reelection in 1872 over New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley, even though a split in the Republican Party resulted in a defection of Liberal Republicans to support Greeley. The campaign was peculiar in that the editor was nominated by both the Liberal Republicans and the Democratic Party, and he died after the popular vote was taken but before the Electoral College made its decisions. Grant was loved and unassailable. The Liberal platform called for an end to the hatreds of Civil War and Reconstruction, for the withdrawal of federal troops from the South, and for civil service reform that would end corruption.
Greeley was the victim of a series of piercing cartoons by Thomas Nast in Harper's Weekly that ridiculed the candidate's statement that "our countrymen, North and South, are eager to clasp hands across the bloody chasm which has too long divided them." Here, a supposed Baltimore antiwar rioter of April 1861 reaches across the flag-draped corpse of a member of the 6th Massachusetts Regiment to accept Greeley's hand. The Massachusetts contingent was en route through Maryland to assist in the defense of Washington, D.C., when attacked by a mob. Baltimore also was the site of the Democratic convention that nominated Greeley. In another cartoon in the series, Greeley futilely tries to reach across the innumerable Union graves at Andersonville Prison.
About this exhibit | Image gallery | Resources | Credits & Comments