Breaking that “Backbone”

Breaking that “Backbone”


LC-USZ62-42560
Title: Breaking that “Backbone”

Creator: Currier & Ives

Description: A figurative commentary on Northern efforts to end the rebellion during the early years of the Civil War. Confederate President Jefferson Davis (far left) displays “the Great Southern Gyascutis,” a dog-like monster with long fangs and an enlarged spine, the “stiffest Back-Bone ever grown.” The beast is labeled “Rebellion.” Davis holds the animal on a chain as several figures prepare to attack it with large sledgehammers. From left to right, they are: Union generals Henry W. Halleck and George B. McClellan, who swing in unison hammers marked “Skill” and “Strategy,” respectively; and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, who waits his turn holding a hammer labeled “Draft.” On the far right waits President Lincoln, with the ax “Emancipation Proclamation” over his shoulder. Stanton: “Halleck may use his skill and Mac his strategy, but this draft will do the business.” Lincoln: “You can try him with that, but I’m afraid this axe of mine is the only thing that will fetch him.” At left, behind the group, sits a dejected, bespectacled man holding a tiny hammer labeled “Compromise.” Further left, on a wall behind Jefferson Davis, hangs a poster saying “Only 10,000 men and $1000,000 in Treasure per Crack. Step up and Try your Muscle.”

URL: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3a42878

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