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The "Third Term" Trap

Title
Ulysses S. Grant
Artist
Thomas Nast, 27 Sep 1840 - 7 Dec 1902
Publication
Harper's Weekly, active 1857 - 1916
Sitter
Ulysses Simpson Grant, 27 Apr 1822 - 23 Jul 1885
Date
1875
Type
Print
Medium
Wood engraving on paper
Dimensions
35.6cm x 22.9cm (14" x 9"), Image
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number
S/NPG.76.16
Exhibition Label
In spite of the controversies of fraud and graft that buffeted Grant’s presidency, he remained popular with voters in the North, who were confident in his innate decency. Nevertheless, Grant was weary of his executive duties, and he began looking forward to the end of his second term. Amidst the calls for him to seek an unprecedented third term, there were critics who were calling such an idea “Caesarism.” Thomas Nast caricatured Grant’s situation in this cartoon. Here, Governor John Hartranft of Pennsylvania lays down his state’s resolution against a third term in the form of a plank. It represents his hope to drive voter momentum, which is represented by an elephant, the symbol of the Republican Party. Grant looks on in agreement, and declares, “If that don’t fetch the animal, Governor, don’t blame me any more.”
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Exhibition
American Origins
On View
NPG, East Gallery 110a