A Close Look at Thomas Nast's Cartoon "Uncle Sam's Thanksgiving Dinner" 1869 Immigrants Welcome Here


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Pat Young

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One of Thomas Nast's most reproduced cartoons is his 1869 Uncle Sam's Thanksgiving Dinner depicting a new America at the dinner table. While an 1860 version of this cartoon might have shown only white Anglo-Saxon Protestants seated at the table, with perhaps a black waiter and an Irish cook in the background, this shows pretty much everybody invited to dinner!

This is the first Thanksgiving of the Grant administration. Reconstruction has been wrestled away from Andy Johnson and placed in the hands of men who believed in equal rights before the law. The 14th Amendment had been ratified the year before and the 15th Amendment, giving blacks the right to vote, had been introduced at the beginning of 1869. The Know Nothings, such a powerful force of political anti-immigrantism just a decade earlier, seemed on their way to extinction.

Most of all, for Nast, his beau ideal of a man, Ulysses S. Grant was president!

In this thread I will dissect the imagery of the cartoon and reproduce some commentary about it. Please add your insights and reactions.
 

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