National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Much to President Grant’s advantage, he found a friend and a veritable spokesperson in Thomas Nast, the talented cartoonist for Harper’s Weekly. In 1872, a scandal involving Grant and Credit Mobilier came to light. Credit Mobilier was a bogus company that siphoned millions of federal dollars for alleged completion of the nation’s transcontinental railway.
With his artist’s pen, Nast came to Grant’s defense, much like the figure of Liberty in this cartoon. Grant’s innate honesty and integrity were never questioned. Yet his poor character judgement and staunch loyalty to conniving friends and political cronies left his administration vulnerable to vice and corruption, which sullied his presidency.