"The Impending Crisis," cartoon, 1860, zoomable image

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Library of Congress
Sized, cropped, and adjusted for use here by John Osborne, Dickinson College, June 29, 2010.
Depicted ContentElection of 1860
Image type
Courtesy of
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
Original caption
"The Impending Crisis" - Or, Caught in the Act
Source citation
Popular Graphic Arts Collection, Library of Congress
Source note
Artist: Louis Maurer
Publisher:  Currier & Ives, New York City 
This Currier & Ives political cartoon shows William H. Seward drowning of the pier after being pushed in by New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley (the figure in the top hat). Drawn by Louis Maurer and published in 1860, “Impending Crisis” satirizes the influential role of newspapermen in Civil War-era politics. Henry J. Raymond (in the police uniform), founder of the New York Times, also helped write the charter of the Republican Party in 1856 and later was a New York Representative. James Watson Webb (on the left dressed as a newspaper boy), editor of Courier & Esquirer, recently threw his support behind the Republican Party. The title of the cartoon refers the book written by Hinton Rowan Helper in 1857, The Impending Crisis of the South: How to Meet It, which denounced slavery from an economic viewpoint—slavery prevented a diverse economy, disadvantaging poor Southerners. Although Seward is undergoing the crisis of losing the Republican presidential candidacy in this cartoon, he would become Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of State, a member of a cabinet filled with Lincoln’s previous political rivals. (By Rebecca Solnit)
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