Recorded: September 10, 2016
Who popularized use of the elephant as a symbol for the Republican Party and the donkey for Democratic Party?
Answer: Thomas Nast created the use of the political symbol of the elephant for the Republican Party (GOP) as well as the modern version of Santa Claus (based on the traditional German figures of Sankt Nikolaus and Weihnachtsmann). Contrary to popular belief, Nast did not create Uncle Sam (the male personification of the American people), Columbia (the female personification of American values), or the Democratic donkey, though he did popularize these symbols through his artwork.
Award-winning political cartoonist and historian Steve Brodner took a lively look at Thomas Nast’s controversial career and the powerful images that shaped public opinion and affected the outcomes of several presidential elections.