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"The Cradle of Liberty in Danger."

The Cradle of Liberty in Danger. Political cartoon, engraving
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Although Nast was New York–based, he drew for a national audience. And Massachusetts politicians—Benjamin F. Butler in particular—were too tempting not to satirize.

Nast drew “bottled up” Benjamin Butler (a jibe at the former Union general’s dismal performance during the Civil War when his army was “bottled up” before Richmond) as an evil spirit escaping from confinement and threatening Boston, depicted as an infant in the “Cradle of Liberty.” Butler was a perennial candidate who, while often defeated, easily exchanged one political party for another and became, in part through Nast’s savage caricatures, a national symbol of grasping political ambition and corruption.