Item: Out on Parole--Scene--A Southern Forest

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Record Number: 12305
Box/Case: 1
Folder: 35
Artist: Bellew, Frank (1828-1888)
Depicted: Ku Klux Klan
Publisher: Frank Leslie's Budget of Fun
Repository: Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Date of Original: November 1868
Original Format: Clippings, Political cartoons
Dimensions: Dimensions of image, 24.5 by 28 cm
Image description: At the center of this cartoon, set in the middle of a forest in the southern United States, a giant rattlesnake labeled "Ku Klux" opens its mouth wide to devour an unsuspecting white dove with an olive branch in its beak, perched on a branch of a tree identified in the caption as "the tree of liberty." In the right background, a woman with a cap labeled "Peace" emerges from the trees and witnesses the scene, clasping her hands together in apparent distress. The caption of the cartoon explains to readers that the woman is the goddess of peace who has sent the dove as a messenger to all creatures in the forest, at the behest of a "great white-headed eagle" (presumably, the United States) who had saved the rattlesnake's life in the past. The rattlesnake is on "parole" (temporary release based on the promise of good behavior) after past crimes but has not given up its old ways. This cartoon comments on the rise of the Ku Klux Klan in the South in the aftermath of the Civil War. The rise of the Klan and the violence its members perpetuated, the cartoon argues, threatened the peace established in the United States after the end of the war.