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Friday, December 5, 2008

You Are Now Officially Smarter Than You Were

Here is a little piece of information you probably weren't aware of:

The full length article can be found here.

Thomas Nast
"It was novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton who first said, “The Pen is Mightier than the Sword”, but it was artist Thomas Nast who demonstrated the profound truth of the adage. While Thomas Nast is almost forgotten today, there is perhaps no person of the latter half of the 1800’s who had a larger impact on defining American culture, and influencing American history. He was responsible for creating the popular American icons of the Republican Elephant, the Democratic Donkey, Uncle Sam, Santa Claus, and Columbia. His artwork played an instrumental role in securing Abraham Lincoln’s second election to the presidency, in the election of Ulysses S. Grant, and in the downfall of the corrupt political machine of Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall."

Ok, that was the quick bio...this is from further down in the article, I thought it was hilarious.

Post War Years:
"Nast became very famous due to the popularity of his Civil War artwork, some of which we have presented above. He became a sought after book illustrator, and speaker. He is said to have illustrated over 100 books.

Nast was always one to take on a cause when he felt that there was an issue of right vs. wrong. In 1868 he became involved in an effort to oust the corrupt New York City government of Tammany Hall led by Democratic politician "Boss" Tweed.

Nast's drawings depicted Boss Tweed as a corrupt politician. Nast's attacks were so relentless that at one point Tweed dispatched his cronies with instructions to, "Stop them damn pictures. I don't care what the papers write about me. My constituents can't read. But, damn it, they can see the pictures." It was also reported that Tweed offered Nast bribes to "take an extended European vacation" in order to try and get the pictures to stop.

Tweed and his corrupt counterparts were ousted from office in November of 1871. An irony of history is that when Tweed escaped from jail and fled to Spain in 1876, he was recognized and arrested by a customs official who did not read English but had seen Nast's Harper's Weekly caricatures of Tweed."

And now you know. Don't you feel smarter?

I know, I'm a history nerd, it's pathetic.

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