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Punch Civil War Wood Engraved Cartoon

"DIVORCE A VINCULO, Mrs. Carolina Asserts her Right to 'Larrup' her Nigger"
January 19, 1861

This compelling cartoon is the first in which Punch recognizes the likely start of the American Civil War. A defiant Mrs. (South) Carolina has one hand upraised, a whip in the other hand and a pistol tucked in her belt and "asserts her Right to 'Larrup' her Nigger." The little black boy is cowering with his hands raised in prayer asking for the protection of Brother Jonathan representing the United States. South Carolina was the first state to secede from the United States, on December 20, 1860 after the election of Abraham Lincoln, and it was in South Carolina at Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor that armed conflict started. Although the cartoon shows "Mrs. Carolina" it is clearly South Carolina because North Carolina was one of the last states to secede, on May 20, 1861 after the cartoon was published.

This cartoon is the only one published that was sympathetic to the cause of the North during the Civil War, until the death of Abraham Lincoln. The British who ran the government and whose views were echoed in Punch were opposed to the North and sympathetic to the South, in part because of the desire for the free flow of cotton to feed the British textile mills. This cartoon makes clear what the British thought was the cause of the war, maintaining the institution of slavery, before their own commercial interests became paramount and skewed their vision. 

Price: $40

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