You are viewing an original 1864
illustration of New Years Day by Thomas Nast. The picture compares
and contrasts the state of affairs in the North and the South during the
Civil War year of 1864. The left of the pictures presents scenes
of happiness and joy in the North. Union Soldiers are pictures on
Furlough, celebrating the new year with their family. A small
inset image shows former slaves celebrating their recent emancipation.
Children are seen happy and playing. A picture of a union soldier
shows him to be well fed, clothed and equipped.
In contrast, the images on the right show
the sad state of affairs in the South at this time. A woman and several
children are shown weeping and grieving over a fresh grave . . .
presumably that of the woman's husband, and the father of the children.
A rebel soldier is seen in a tattered uniform, unable to protect himself
from the bitter cold.
The upper inset image implies a spiritual
component to the Civil War, with scenes of heavenly and demonic beings
pitted against one another.
With the 1864 presidential campaign about
to get underway, and with the
Democratic Party arguing strongly for Compromise with the South,
Thomas Nast used this illustration to remind people of what had been
accomplished, and how victory was close at hand, if the country would
stay the course.