Jul 28, 2012

Lampooning the Union

(NYTimes) Early in the summer of 1862, Abraham Lincoln carved out time to sit quietly and craft the principles of the Emancipation Proclamation. He would reveal his plan to the cabinet on July 22, and announce it to the world on Sept. 22, after the Battle of Antietam. In those long, early days of summer, however, he told no one of his plan.
But he must have discussed it with a devil.
That was the conclusion of Adalbert Johann Volck, the most incisive Confederate political satirist. And he drew the proof: President Lincoln, hand to his head, deep in thought, a portrait of John Brown with a halo hanging nearby, the Constitution underfoot and a painting of the bloody Haitian slave revolt on the wall. And, of course, an impish little demon helpfully holding the president's inkwell.
Volck was hardly a typical pro-Southern, anti-Lincoln propagandist. Like many of his fellow German-Americans, he had left his native land because of his involvement in the revolution of 1848. After a few years in St. Louis and California he settled in Baltimore, where he worked as a dentist. He became politically active, and, like the renowned Thomas Nast and Joseph Keppler (founder of Puck), he expressed his views in biting political cartoons. Continued

Photo: “Marylanders Crossing the Potomac to Join the Southern Army,” by Adalbert Volck