The Republican and Democratic parties are often symbolised by animals. The Democrats are represented by a donkey, but they've never officially adopted it as their logo. The Republican party symbol is an Elephant. Both animals can be traced back to one man called Thomas Nast. He drew political cartoons in the 1870s and started using a donkey for the Democrats. The elephant first appeared in a cartoon in 1874 - it refers to this well-known fable: "An ass, having put on a lion's skin, roamed about in the forest and amused himself by frightening all the animals he met within his wanderings." The cartoonist was poking fun at events in politics at the time. It was all pretty complicated, but basically the Democrats were the ass (donkey) and they'd been scaring off the Republican voters, who were shown in the cartoon as elephants.