Harper’s Weekly – July 3, 1880

In 1880, the Democratic platform called for hard money, a position that Nast had always endorsed. In protest, the inflationist Greenback Party nominated Iowa Congressman James Weaver as its third-party candidate. He ended up winning almost three percent of the popular vote after being the first Presidential candidate to extensively tour the country during his campaign. (Horace Greeley went on a ten-day tour in 1872.)

Nast once again turned to Shakespeare, as he ridiculed Weaver with Bottom, the Weaver in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in a series of five cartoons beginning three months before both conventions, while Weaver was imploring his fellow Congressmen to print more paper money and equate it with gold.

Bottom was always dressed as an Athenian and adorned with the head of a vacuous ass. In Nast’s first cartoon after Weaver’s nomination, Columbia (as Titania, the Fairy Queen) awoke from a love-potion to hear her suitor singing “More greenbacks! More! More!” while his campaign banner was inscribed on the face of the moon. The keynote stab, of course, was Shakespeare’s “Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.”