Heads of the Democracy

Attributed to Currier & Ives (American, active New York, 1857–1907)
sheet: 13 11/16 x 18 1/8 in. (34.8 x 46 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Georgiana W. Sargent, in memory of John Osborne Sargent, 1924
Accession Number:
Not on view
This biting political caricature responds to a presidential campaign held during the American Civil War. A "Copperhead" is surrounded by a "Blunderhead," a "Soreheard," a "Blockhead" and a "Wronghead," with broken shackles below. Behind the group "McClellan's Letter," "Chicago Platform," and "London Times" are depicted. The image criticizes a Northern political faction active 1861-64 known as the Copperheads, whose members favored the Union but opposed Lincoln and the Civil War. The print responds to McClellan's nomination as Democratic candidate for president, and attempts to reconcile his military service with the party's peace platform.

Currier & Ives name does not appear on the print, but some scholars of American satire and the Civil War have linked to the firm.
Inscription: In stone, below image: "Heads of the Democracy"
Georgiana W. Sargent; Donor: Georgiana W. Sargent
Weitenkampf, p. 144; [not listed in Currier & Ives catalogues]
Harry T. Peters Currier & Ives, Printmakers to the American People. 2 vols., Garden City, NY, 1931, not in this reference.

Frank Weitenkampf Political Caricature in the United States. The New York Public Library, 1953, p. 144.

Harold Holzer Lincoln and New York. New-York Historical Society, 2009, p. 175, ill.