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The "Third Term" Trap

The "Third Term" Trap
Alternate Title
Ulysses S. Grant
Thomas Nast, 27 Sep 1840 - 7 Dec 1902
Harper's Weekly, active 1857 - 1916
John Frederick Hartranft, 16 Dec 1830 - 17 Oct 1889
Ulysses Simpson Grant, 27 Apr 1822 - 23 Jul 1885
Jun 26, 1875
Wood engraving on paper
35.6cm x 22.9cm (14" x 9"), Image
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
Object number
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
American Origins
On View
NPG, East Gallery 110a