Life of Thomas Nastthomas_nast.jpg

  • born in Germany in 1840
  • moved to New York City where he began his career
    • after the age of 15 he worked as a draftsmen for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper and then Harper's Weekly
  • married Sarah Edwards in 1861 after going to Italy to capture Garibaldi's military attempt to unify Italy
  • first serious cartoons were during the Civil War and Reconstruction periods
    • The first was "Peace" which was directed towards the No1813193.jpgrtherners who didn't agree with the prosecution of the Civil War.
    • known for drawing battlefields in border and southern states
    • published in Harper's Weekly 1010.jpg

The Tweed Ring
  • His drawings were important to the downfall of Boss Tweed
  • Boss Tweed was the boss of the political machine Tammany Hall in New York during the 1860s and 1870s
    • he and his associates controlled the city government and a majority of the state legislature
    • they took millions from the city by inflating expenses paid to contractors that worked for the Ring
  • Nast published his cartoons of Tweed which Boss Tweed feared so he had someone offer a bribe to Nast who counter-offered and then refused the $500,000
  • The Tweed Ring was brought down in the election of 1871 and then Tweed was put in jail in 1873 for fraud
    • he escaped to Cuba but the officials were able to identify him using one of Thomas Nast's cartoons

After the Fall of Boss Tweed

  • prejudice against Catholic and Irish immigrants in urban housing and neighborhoods
    • he believed they were a big part of Tweed's public support
    • he portrayed Catholic church leaders as crocodiles waiting to attack children in the cartoon of "The American River Ganges"
    • the Irish were portrayed as drunks usually with ape-like characteristics

Political Works

  • strong Republican and shared these views with Mark Twain
  • opposed inflation which he showed as rag-baby cartoons
  • appointed the United State's Consul General to Ecuador in South America
    • there was a fatal outbreak of yello fever but Nast stayed to help diplomatic missions and businesses escape the disease
    • died in 1902 of yellow fever at the age of 62

Commonly Known Worksnast-santa.gif

  • Santa Claus
    • Nast drew him as the short and chubby Santa with a beard that we know today
    • published in Harper's Weekly in 1863
    • the earlier version was tall and skinny
  • Democratic party donkey
  • Republican party elephant
  • the Tammany Tiger which is the symbol of Boss Tweed's political machine
  • Nast also added the goatee to Uncle Sam which is a symbol of the US, originally drawn in the 1830s


Amsco book

Extra external sites

more cartoons