German cartoonist Thomas Nast is commonly referred to as the "Father of the American Cartoon". He is best known for his satirical art, his creation of the modern day Santa Claus and Uncle Sam, and sketches of the civil war. His first illustration job was for Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper in 1855. In 1859, his drawing of a report exposing police corruption appeared in Harper's Weekly, making it the first time his illustrations made print.
Thomas joined the ranks of Harper's Weekly as an artist in 1862 and he stayed there for around 25 years. He instantly earned praise for his civil war graphics and by the 1870s he mainly concentrated on political cartoons. During this time, he created the donkey and elephant images that depict the Democratic and Republican parties, which are still used today.
In 1886, Thomas left Harper's Weekly and fell on financial hardships. He tried taking over the New York Gazette, renaming it Nast's Weekly, but it shortly fell just seven months after it started. In 1902, Theodore Roosevelt appointed him as the U.S. Counsel General of Ecuador. He stayed in the position, regardless of the ongoing outbreak of yellow fever, aiding businesses and diplomatic missions. In December of that year, he came down with the fever and passed away.
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