A Man Knows A Man

April 22, 1865, page 265

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"Give me your hand, Comrade!  We have each lost a Leg for the good cause; but, thank
God, we never lost Heart."


Military service, especially in battle, was often seen as a rite of passage that turned boys into men. Physical scarring or maiming served as the visible symbol of manhood tested and earned through combat. The message of this cartoon, appearing at the end of the Civil War, is that white and black Union soldiers have made the same sacrifice and are equal in their manhood. It can be inferred that, for the artist, the equality of manhood would encompass the economic right to work as free men and to provide for their families. The artist’s intent on the more difficult questions of political and social equality is uncertain.


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