The Boston Donkey

If you find yourself in Boston and looking for something to do, I highly recommend taking a Boston by Foot Tour.  On July 4th, I was part of the Freedom Trail Tour that follows that red line painted, sometimes it is brick, in the center of the sidewalks in Boston.  This trail follows the path to the sights and places of the American Revolution.


Taking a stroll down School Street one comes to the site of the first public school in Boston, the Boston Latin School, and the site of the Old Boston City Hall.  This is an incredible looking building that is now used for commercial purposes but was once the seat of power in the City of Boston.  On the grounds of the build is a statue of one of Boston Latin’s most famous dropouts, Benjamin Franklin.  He is an imposing figure depicted walking away from the school.  On the four sides of the pedestal that he stands on, are images of his life.

However, this statue is not what drew my eye.  Located across the courtyard from ole Ben is a bronze donkey with a very cool story.


The donkey has long been a symbol of the Democratic Party in the United States.  It first appeared in 1837 in a political cartoon that featured Andrew Jackson, who was known to his political opponents as “the jackass.” Several decades later cartoonist Thomas Nast made the donkey a familiar symbol of the Democratic Party.  It was intended to be an insult, but he turned it to a compliment.  Although never officially adopted, all twenty of Boston’s Democratic mayors used this as a symbol during their time in office.


The bronze donkey standing outside of the Old City Hall is looking down at two bronze footprints emblazoned with an elephant, the symbol of the Republican Party in the United States, with the words “stand in opposition.”  The footprints face the donkey so standing and looking at this sculpture one is not sure who is standing in opposition or to what one is standing in opposition too.  The beauty of art, it is left to the person looking at it to decide the answer to the question.

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