Liberty, the Fair Maid of Kansas--in the Hands of the "Border Ruffians." political cartoon, 1856
In the foreground of this image, Franklin Pierce, Lewis Cass, James Buchanan, William Marcy, and Stephen Douglas, drawn as "border ruffians" of the Kansas territory, menace Columbia, the female personification of liberty. Following the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act, which allowed the inhabitant...
|Collection:||Historical Society of Pennsylvania large graphics collection (#V65)|
|Dimensions:||54 x 34 cm|
|Extent:||1 loose sheet|
|Call Number:||Bc 612 Lf 15|
John L. Magee, circa 1820-1870
|Subjects and Genres:|
|Copyright:||Please contact Historical Society of Pennsylvania Rights and Reproductions (email@example.com)|
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In the foreground of this image, Franklin Pierce, Lewis Cass, James Buchanan, William Marcy, and Stephen Douglas, drawn as "border ruffians" of the Kansas territory, menace Columbia, the female personification of liberty. Following the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act, which allowed the inhabitants of the new US territories to decide via popular sovereignty whether or not slavery would be permitted, violence broke out between pro- and antislavery settlers. Pierce, Cass, Buchanan, and Marcy supported this legislation and are here depicted as violent pro-slavery invaders. At the center of the image, Columbia, wearing a liberty cap and draped in an American flag, kneels on the ground and extends her arms to appeal for mercy. Pierce, leaning on a rifle with one foot on the flag, looks down at her and laughs. To her right, Cass also laughs and licks his lips. To his right, a bearded Stephen Douglas kneels over the body of a man he has just finished scalping and holds the scalp aloft. To Pierce's left, James Buchanan and William Marcy (wearing a "50 cents" patch on the seat of his pants) rob the body of another man, holding up a ring and a pocket watch. The five men are armed with rifles, swords, knives, and tomahawks, and have scalps hanging from their belts. In the background are further scenes of massacre, as men with guns chase down fleeing men and women. In the far left background, a woman stands in front of a burning house and begs one of her attackers, who she mistakes for her husband, to come with her.