Commentary: This cartoon in the issue of November 3, 1866, appeared about
two weeks before Election Day. It shows Johnson as King with Secretary of State William H.
Seward as his grand vizier pointing to the line for the chopping block. At the left is
Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles as Neptune; "290" on his chest is the
original number for the Alabama, the British-built warship that the Confederates
under Raphael Semmes used to sink Union merchant ships during the war. At the right, Miss
Liberty sits in chains. Seward is shown below because he made a speech in St. Louis after
Johnson spoke in which he referred to a king-minister relationship as an analogy for
Johnson and himself.
with his head on the chopping block is Thaddeus Stevens, Johnsons principal
adversary in the House. Behind Stevens are abolitionist Wendell Phillips, publisher John
W. Forney, Senator Charles Sumner (Johnsons principal adversary in the Senate),
Congressman (and General) Benjamin Butler, orator Anna Elizabeth Dickinson, publisher
Horace Greeley, Congressman John Logan and, at the very rear, Thomas Nast himself with a
sketchbook under his arm.
The upside down duck on Johnsons
medallion is significant. John Forney, whose Philadelphia and Washington newspapers
irritated Johnson, had called Forney a "Dead Duck." Nast used the "Order of
Dead Ducks" to lampoon Johnson on several occasions.