Thomas Nast Created them!
Well, he created the modern day images of them that we know today....
I was having a friendly political debate through text when my friend and I started referring to each other as the animals of the other party. Statements like "your sides full of stubborn asses" and "your sides big, fat and grey and walks all over everyone" were used. It was - quite funny, but our political debate soon became a discussion about who the hell chose these strange animals as our mascots in the first place.
Of course, with the Internet at our finger tips, we were texting each other websites with this fascinating information. I'll put it in a little fun nutshell for you.
He chose the ass for a reason though. When Andrew Jackson was running for president his opponents nicked named him the "Jackass." He liked it so much that he used it on his campaign posters. I guess you can make fun of a jackass...But a stubborn ass likes being a stubborn ass - and a big-fat-grey animal that walks all over everyone likes being a big-fat-grey animal that walks all over everyone.
God bless America!
(And the rest of the world too...)
Hey, you never know when you might have to know this for a trivia question.
Van Gogh, in Paris, loved Nast's work and hung them in his bedroom. He owned over 40 illustrations and studied the works, admiring Nast, who was one of the the most influential artists of the time....Random! Poor Van Gogh...He was born too soon and wouldnt live to see even one of his painting sell....but he was kind of weird too, so that didnt help.