“A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead Lion”
January 15, 1870, p.48. -Wood engraving-
The donkey first appeared as a symbol for the Democratic Party in the 1830s when the Democrat Andrew Jackson was President. The donkey continued in American political commentary as a symbol for the Democratic Party thereafter. Thomas Nast built upon this legacy and used his extraordinary skill to amplify it. For a time, the rooster also served as the symbol of the Democratic Party, but gradually the donkey replaced it in popular usage after the 1880s. Nast first used the donkey as a symbol for the Democratic Party in “A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead Lion” published January 15, 1870, in Harper’s Weekly to comment on Northern Democrats (nicknamed Copperheads) dealings with Edwin M. Stanton, Lincoln’s Secretary of War.
via Thomas Nast.