Coalitions Politics

1856 anti-Republican political cartoon

 

You’ll have to view the much larger file at Wikimedia, but this anti-Republican political cartoon from 1856 is a reminder of several fascinating things. First, the Republican Party was, very nearly from its inception, the second party in a “two-party system.” It was also a coalition party that, while centered around opposition to the extension of slavery, included various factions with their own interesting axes to grind. The cartoon features, from left to right, a tee-totaling vegetarian, a suffragette, a poor white man, an advocate for “free love” who makes a bawdy play on Freemont’s name, a Catholic, and a black man. Freemont promises to satisfy each faction, but most particularly to assert “the Equality of our Colored Bretheren.”

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