Party Socks Child
- National Archives Store Exclusive
- Made in the U.S.A.
Let their tootsies do the talking. Young Republicans and Democrats can wear their early allegiance this election season, starting from the toes up. Choose socks with the elephant symbol of the Republican party or the donkey symbol of the Democratic party, and leave no room for speculation.
The Democratic Party’s donkey and the Republican Party’s elephant have been on the political scene since the 19th century. The origins of the Democratic donkey can be traced to the 1828 presidential campaign of Andrew Jackson, who ran on a populist platform (by the people, for the people) and used a slogan of “Let the People Rule.” Jackson’s opponents referred to him as a jackass (a donkey). Rather than rejecting the label, Jackson was amused by it and decided to use the image of the strong-willed animal on his campaign posters. In the 1870s, influential political cartoonist Thomas Nast helped popularize the donkey as a symbol for the entire Democratic Party.
Meanwhile, six years after the Republican Party was formed in 1854, Abraham Lincoln became its first member elected to the White House. The earliest connection of the elephant to the Republican Party was an illustration in an 1864 Lincoln presidential campaign newspaper, Father Abraham. It showed an elephant holding a banner and celebrating Union victories. During the Civil War, "seeing the elephant" was slang for engaging in combat, so the elephant was a logical choice to represent successful battles.The pachyderm didn’t start to take hold as a GOP symbol until Thomas Nast used it in an 1874 Harper’s Weekly cartoon. Nast employed the elephant to represent Republicans in additional cartoons during the 1870s, and by 1880, other cartoonists were using the creature to symbolize the party.