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Donkey and Elephant

The Democratic donkey was first associated with Democrat Andrew Jackson’s 1828 presidential campaign. His opponents called him a jackass (a donkey), and Jackson decided to use the image of the strong-willed animal on his campaign posters. Later, cartoonist Thomas Nast used the Democratic donkey in newspaper cartoons and made the symbol famous.

Further Nast coined the Republican elephant, first shown in a cartoon that appeared in Harper’s Weekly in 1874.  Nast drew a donkey clothed in lion’s skin, scaring away all the animals at the zoo. One of those animals, the elephant, was labeled “The Republican Vote.” It quickly became a recognized and then official symbol of the Republican party.

democrat donkey republican elephant

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