Political cartton showing U.S. senator William Mahone sitting atop scales that he is tipping toward the Republican Party
Original Author: Unknown
Created: April 2, 1881
Medium: Woodcut

The “Southern Brigadier” as the Balance of Power in a “Loyal” Senate

A political cartoon from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, published on April 2, 1881, depicts the newly elected U.S. senator William Mahone as controlling the balance of power in the Senate. Though a member of the biracial Readjuster Party, he caucused with the national Republican Party, which gave that party the majority and allowed Mahone to dispense patronage positions in Virginia. Mahone served as a brigadier general and eventually a major general for the Confederacy during the Civil War. The cartoon's title hints at the irony of a former Confederate giving power to the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln and anti-slavery sentiment.

Citation: Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, AP2 .L42, Special Collections, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.