Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Q&A: How did political symbols start?

How did political symbols start?

When and why did the elephant become the symbol of the Republican Party and the donkey the symbol of the Democratic Party?

Harper's Weekly cartoonist Thomas Nast is credited with inventing the Republican elephant and for advancing the Democratic Party's association with the donkey with his political cartoons of the 1870s.

During the midterm elections of 1874, a Nast cartoon depicted President Ulysses S. Grant's possible attempt at an unprecedented third term; this was at the same time that the New York Herald was running a series of editorials against the third term, according to C-SPAN. Nast had a donkey disguised as a lion trying to scare away animals in a forest.

According to C-SPAN: "One of the animals frightened by the donkey's roar of Caesarism was an elephant — a symbol for Republican voters, who were abandoning President Grant, and in Nast's view, about to fall into the Democrats' trap. Other cartoonists of the time picked up the idea of the timid elephant representing Republicans, and that symbol for the party became widely recognized and accepted by the general public."

This was the first time these two animals had been used together, but the Democratic donkey had been around since Andrew Jackson's presidential campaign of 1828. According to C-SPAN, "Jackson was labeled a 'jackass' for his populist views. Jackson proudly seized the label and began using donkeys on his campaign posters."

Tiger-designed course in 2012

What is the status of the first golf course Tiger Woods was designing to be constructed near Asheville, N.C.?

The course, which is in the Cliffs at High Carolina, is scheduled to be completed in fall 2012, the Asheville Citizen-Times reported recently.

Cliff Communities, the developer, and the environmental groups Western North Carolina Alliance and Trout Unlimited have reached an agreement that nearly cut in half the length of streams the course will affect, the Citizen-Times reported. Woods said the agreement still is in line with his intent to have a walkable course with Blue Ridge Mountains views.

How the football gained shape

How did the football get to its current design?

In the early days of the sport, the American football was rounder and shaped more like a rugby ball. They were made from inflated pig's bladders — hence the name pigskin — and their size and shape varied from game to game.

The football evolved into its current, more pronounced prolate spheroid shape as rubber replaced the pig's bladders and to better accommodate the forward pass. The shape allowed the players to get a better grip on the ball for throwing.

The balls used for rugby and Australian rules football also are similar in shape to the football.

Q&A: How did political symbols start? 10/07/10 [Last modified: Thursday, October 7, 2010 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Woman dead in St. Petersburg shooting



    Woman fatally shot Saturday night

    A 31-year-old woman was shot and killed Saturday night, police said.

  2. Jones: Rather than criticizing anthem protests, we should be asking about the reasons for them


    MINNEAPOLIS — They are football players. They are teammates. They are Tampa Bay Bucs.

    Bucs wide receivers Mike Evans (13) and DeSean Jackson (11) kneel during the national anthem. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Here kitty, kitty ...


    In a toned down version of the annual rookie dress-up day based on MLB's new anti-hazing policy, Rays rookie players and staff - plus second-year LHP Blake Snell - donned DJ Kitty onesies for the trip to New York.

    Rays rookie players and staff - joined here by Alex Colome - sporting their DJ Kitty onesies before the flight to New York.
  4. Pasco residents affected by Irma invited to town hall meeting

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Representatives from Pasco County Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will play host to a town hall-style meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday in the first-floor boardroom of the West Pasco Government Center, 8731 Citizens Drive, New Port Richey

    Sandra Cunningham assesses the damage a water oak did to her Church Avenue home when it crashed into her bedroom roof during Hurricane Irma.
  5. Lightning's Nikita Kucherov has a lot to say — about moving on to a much better season

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Nikita Kucherov sits back in his stall and smiles.

    Laughs a little, too.

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) prepares for a faceoff during the first period of Friday's  (9/22/17) preseason game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Nashville Predators at Amalie Arena in Tampa.