The Civil War Connections Blog

Jefferson Davis the Devil: Political Cartoons & Propganda

Political cartoons during the Civil War era were more villainous than today and often depicted Confederate leaders as devils, snake, rats, etc.  Jefferson Davis was the main target of the Union hatred that showed up in the political comics of the northern publications.

Below is a picture of Jefferson Davis as the devil and he is warming himself up next to a burning Charleston.

Jefferson Davis as the Devil


It is no surprise that the political cartoons were one of the main forms of propaganda, not only would northern publications vilify famous Southerners but they would sometimes make unrealistic portrayals of soldier’s lives.


In this example the cartoon shows soldiers after a Thanksgiving feast and they are appear to be presentably plump, but in reality they were probably closer to be malnourished than nice and rotund.

Fat Soldiers


Political cartoons of the North were very patriotic and would sometimes show the United States as superior to other nations.  In this cartoon Uncle Sam is schooling the other nations of the world in naval warfare by showing off the USS Monitor.


While there is no shortage of political cartoons from the Union there are far less Confederate cartoons.  I was able to find this one that shows Lincoln writing the Emancipation Proclamation while his foot sits on the Constitution and dips his pen in the “devil’s inkpot.”

The interesting thing about this picture of Lincoln was that it was done by a Baltimore man named Adalbert J. Volck who was a dentist from Germany.  Even more interesting he was a courier for, and personally knew, Jefferson Davis.




All Union cartoons come from Harpers Weekly

Information on Volck come from

and the image came from