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HISTORY: Erath man presents Democratic symbol to president

Long before the Civil War and Thomas Nast’s Republican elephant, Democratic donkey, Tammany tiger, and Santa Claus, a rooster was the symbol of the Democratic Party. An article in The Commoner dated May 26, 1905, mentioned that Major W. W. Armstrong of Cleveland was the first to suggest that a rooster be used as the Democratic symbol.

Was he correct?

A writer in the Washington Star begged to differ. He claimed the credit should go to a Democratic senator from Indiana, who first suggested the rooster in a letter to one of his constituents after it was definitely known that Democratic candidate James K. Polk had closely defeated Whig candidate Henry Clay in 1844. According to the Washington Star article, a letter was sent to the editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that read: “Tell Bird B. Chapman to crow!” Chapman was the editor of the local Democratic organization, and his next publication contained the first Democratic rooster crowing over the defeated Whigs. And, that is how a crowing rooster became the Democrat’s symbol.

Full article: Crowing Rooster

Attribution: William Thibodeaux,

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