Neutrality or Death?

Good Morning! Today’s Friday Funny comes to us from the June 29, 1861 edition of Harper’s Weekly.

The caption reads, “Governor Magoffin’s neutrality means holding the Cock of the Walk (Uncle Sam) while the Confederate Cat (Jeff Davis) kills off his Chickens.” This editorial cartoon reminds us that early in the war, Kentucky’s loyalties were unclear. At the time of the cartoon’s publication, Kentucky’s government had adopted two resolutions: one of neutrality and of refusal to raise volunteers for Lincoln’s army. On May 20, 1861, Kentucky Governor Beriah Magoffin issued his own proclamation asserting Kentucky’s neutrality. The derisive nature of this cartoon indicates the artist’s view that neutrality on the part of Kentucky would hinder the Union war effort and result in substantial Yankee casualties.

Image Credit: Harper’s Weekly, June 29, 1861.

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