Test your knowledge with a quiz
- When the Republican party was founded in 1854, it was founded on a progressive platform that supported the emancipation of the slaves as well as industry. In contrast, mid-19th-century Democrats were interested in states’ rights, and many Democrats in the North supported the South during the Civil War.
- Cultural and economic ties between communities complicated the Civil War’s geographic division between Northern and Southern states. Northern Democrats and groups like the Copperheads (also known as Peace Democrats) shared sympathies with the South in support of states’ rights and often perpetuated racial inequality and discriminatory practices.
- The Civil War ended with the surrender of Robert E. Lee to General Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865. Jefferson Davis, who had served as President of the Confederate States, was arrested four weeks later when his unit was surrounded in Georgia. His escape was popularized by the media, which suggested that he had attempted to conceal himself by dressing as a woman.
- The use of writhing snakes to decorate whiskey jugs has traditionally been linked to the temperance movement. However, scholars now believe that that the snakes refer instead to the political party known as the Copperheads. The makers of this whiskey jug, the Kirkpatrick brothers, promoted their business through popular entertainment and spectacle. This was the age of P.T. Barnum and Mark Twain, who used humor to amuse while also satirizing the sanctimonious ideals of Victorian America.
More to think about
The decoration of this whiskey jug demonstrates the use of satire and humor to reflect on political events and social conventions. What would be some modern versions of this type of social and political critique? Why do you think satire and humor are often used to make political statements?