Thomas Nast, an influential 19th century political cartoonist, is considered responsible for helping secure the presidencies of Ulysses Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Grover Cleveland through his iconic political sketches in Harper’s Weekly.
In general, his political cartoons supported American Indians, Chinese Americans and advocated abolition of slavery. Nast also opposed segregation and the violence of the Ku Klux Klan. In addition, Nast’s drawings were instrumental in the downfall of Boss Tweed, the powerful Tammany Hall leader. (Tweed actually bribed Nast to quit the campaign against him, but to no avail)
In 1886, Nast’s tenure with Harper’s Weekly ran out after his final Christmas illustration. In the words of journalist Henry Watterson, “in quitting Harper’s Weekly, Nast lost his forum: in losing him, Harper’s Weekly lost its political importance.”
Later in life, Nast supported Grant in his highly successful autobiographical endeavors.
In 1902, and was appointed Consul General to Ecudor under Theodore Roosevelt. While conducting diplomatic missions to help stop a Yellow Fever outbreak, he contracted the contagion and died shortly thereafter.