Today in History: A Donkey Is Born

| January 15, 2019

america-2025465_1280As a symbol of the Democratic party, the donkey first appeared on January 15th, 1870 in Harper’s Weekly in a political cartoon by Thomas H. Nast that  criticized Edwin Stanton, former Secretary of War, by using the caption, “A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead Lion”.  Some believe the “jackass” played on a twist of General Andrew Jackson’s name by his political enemies, for Jackson’s supporters were linked to the Democratics, the new party that fractured off from the Democratic-Republican Party. With many perceiving the donkey as a stubborn and stupid animal, the symbol has not always felt that favorable, but it has a remarkable history, made all the more interesting by the use of other animals or images as political symbols: the elephant or eagle, Republicans; rooster, Democratics (Indiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma); five pointed star, Democrats (New York).

The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning. Why not enjoy a little light-hearted political history and also take stock of where we are today?




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