With fondness, wishing it were true in 2021: Remembering “Uncle Sam’s Thanksgiving” by Thomas Nast, 1869

Our traditional Thanksgiving post wishing for peace:

November 1869, in the first year of the Grant administration — and Nast put aside his own prejudices enough to invite the Irish guy to dinner, along with many others. (Nast tended not to like Catholics, and especially Irish Catholics.)

In a nation whose emotions are still raw from a divisive election, a year of protest for the right to live, a year of too-long-continued deadly plague, unwarranted, horrifying assaults on police officers, not to mention daily horrors reported from Venezuela, Central America, East Timor and Indonesian New Guinea, Syria, Belarus, Asia and the Middle East, could there be a better or more timely reminder of what we’re supposed to be doing?

A Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub tradition: Uncle Sam’s Thanksgiving. History teachers should use the image — and if you’re teaching history at home to students working hard to avoid getting ill, you should use it, too. If you’re teaching in Texas . . . well, there’s something here to make everyone angry, but anger is allowed under the new history censorship rules, right?

(Click for a larger image — it’s well worth it.)

Thomas Nast's "Uncle Sam's Thanksgiving," 1869 - Ohio State University's cartoon collection

Thomas Nast’s “Uncle Sam’s Thanksgiving,” 1869 – Ohio State University’s cartoon collection, and HarpWeek

As described at the Ohio State site:

“Uncle Sam’s Thanksgiving Dinner” marks the highpoint of Nast’s Reconstruction-era idealism. By November 1869 the Fourteenth Amendment, which secures equal rights and citizenship to all Americans, was ratified. Congress had sent the Fifteenth Amendment, which forbade racial discrimination in voting rights, to the states and its ratification appeared certain. Although the Republican Party had absorbed a strong nativist element in the 1850s, its commitment to equality seemed to overshadow lingering nativism, a policy of protecting the interests of indigenous residents against immigrants. Two national symbols, Uncle Sam and Columbia, host all the peoples of the world who have been attracted to the United States by its promise of self-government and democracy. Germans, African Americans, Chinese, Native Americans, Germans, French, Spaniards: “Come one, come all,” Nast cheers at the lower left corner.

One of my Chinese students identified the Oriental woman as Japanese, saying it was “obvious.” Other friends say both are Chinese.  Regional differences.  The figure at the farthest right is a slightly cleaned-up version of the near-ape portrayal Nast typically gave Irishmen.

If Nast could put aside his biases to celebrate the potential of unbiased immigration to the U.S. and the society that emerges, maybe we can, too.

Hope your Thanksgiving week is good; hope you have good company and good cheer, turkey or not, traveling or not, company or not. Stay safe. Happy Thanksgiving 2021.  And of course, remember to fly your flag, to show you agree with Nast’s inclusive Thanksgiving.

More: Earlier posts from Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub

And in 2013:

This is an encore post.

Yes, this is an encore post. Defeating ignorance takes patience and perseverance.


8 Responses to With fondness, wishing it were true in 2021: Remembering “Uncle Sam’s Thanksgiving” by Thomas Nast, 1869

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    Moscker, it seems clear from your first post you mean the word in a pejorative way. Frankly, the grammar sounds to me as something out of white supremacist literature.

    “If Nast could put aside his biases to celebrate the potential of unbiased immigration to the U.S. and the society that emerges, maybe we can, too.

    “Hope your Thanksgiving week is good; hope you have good company and good cheer, turkey or not, traveling or not, company or not. Stay safe.”

    I hope you find peace.


  2. mosckerr says:

    The lie post Civil War America, the false idea that Democracy supersedes Republic. Why? The Damned Yankees fought and won a Civil War over States Rights. Lincoln’s interpretation of States starkly contrasts by Jefferson’s interpretation of States. Lincoln viewed the States of the Union as something on par with counties within a State; as counties cannot secede from the State, so too States cannot secede from the Union. Lincoln invaded the South without a Congressional declaration of war; making his actions similar to Pearl Harbor, the US invasion of Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. Jefferson by stark contrast, his interpretation of State Rights: the States freely joined the Union and therefore these same States can freely leave/depart from the Union.


  3. mosckerr says:

    Why do you refer to the Hebrew referencing a Non Jewish Person/Goy as an insult? That’s absurd. The afternoon shabbat prayer refers to the Jewish people as “Goy”. Goy defined as “nation”.


  4. Ed Darrell says:

    Not sure about the previous comment from Moscker. It’s mostly unhinged rant, but other than the intended insult of the word “goyim,” it doesn’t directly violate most of the rules of this blog.

    For the sake of discussion, I’m letting it pass.

    The comment is not the views of this blog, even where our views are parallel.


  5. Kiwiwriter says:

    His best cartoon was another Reconstruction-era one, which showed a prosperous, free, content African-American family gathered around the fireplace to celebrate Christmas in a center oval. Around them were separate images of all the horrors that African-Americans had suffered and endured to reach the goal of simply being able to live, work, and play like every other American. It still moves me to tears — especially the incredible detail, which includes an adorable little girl of about four or five, and the paterfamilias with a period beard warming his hands. Why is achieving this so hard 150 years later?


  6. Happy Thanksgiving! Wishing peace for our nation too.


  7. mosckerr says:

    To Govern is to Lie
    The culture among Western Goyim civilizations, the Government rules. Rulership, defined as people within the land exist as subjects not citizens. Foreign Policy stands upon the foundation of deception. The culture among Western Goyim civilizations, Foreign Policy takes precedence and priority over domestic policy and issues. How much more so then that the “subjects” within the Homeland must passively sit like a poodle on the lap. Domestic turmoil show anarchy and chaos to Foreign Governments.

    The culture among Western Goyim civilizations, Foreign Policy takes precedence and priority over domestic ruled subjects. As deception serves as the foundation of Foreign Policy … how much more so deception rules the policy of the Ruling Government unto its poodle subjects.

    Consequently, the outcome of this union which prioritizes Foreign Policy over Domestic servant poodle populations. The culture among Western Goyim civilizations, to impose crushing taxes upon the servant poodle populations. Government Foreign Policy has almost zero accountability. Government bureaucrats rule with impunity. Laws coast through Congress, written by Corporate Lobbies. All domestic poodle society dominated by the products which the Corporate Monopolies control. The market places, all News, entertainment, food, movies, television, and most important Government.

    A man stood before an American court and got acquitted of killing two and injuring another US Citizen. This abortion of justice, the ruled domestic poodle accepts this horrid abuse, and still wags its little fluff ball tail. Illegal aliens enjoy the “identical” Bill of Rights – parts of the US Constitution – as do the subject domestic poodle populations. Guns kill. No guilty criminals. Except when US Courts place millions of Blacks into commercial profit prison gulags.

    The purpose of Government:: to keep the sealed lid upon the domestic pressure cooker, so that this lid does not fly off and the Government burnt script. Government bureaucrats as the top of the ponzi scheme pyramid:: their job – to do what ever required to pacify social unrest. Justice: the compensation to persons who suffer damages, either intentionally or accidentally inflicted, that the person guilty for causing the damages has to pay fair restitution to the victim(s). Justice means nothing to non elected bureaucrats who have no public accountability even though they enforce police power over the governed poodle populations.

    Left\Right —- Liberal\Conservative —– Democrat\Republic —– labels have form but no substance. Both Democrat and Republican Presidents carried out the illegal invasion of Vietnam by the United States. The interests of the State, as determined by the Government, they determine how the Government spends the taxed poodle populations — their hard earned money and even their lives.

    Democracy exists as a lie. The Founding Fathers established a Republic NOT a Democracy. The Electoral College determines who rules the White House, NOT the electorate majority. America has existed as a Republic throughout its history as an Independent Nation. The Founding Fathers permitted only White land owners the Right to Vote.


  8. […] Thomas Nast’s “Uncle Sam’s Thanksgiving,” 2021 post […]


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