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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 5:30am]

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