The cover of The Path To Tyranny features two of the five paintings in Thomas Cole’s The Course of Empire, which were painted between 1833 and 1836. The front cover features The Consummation of Empire, the third painting in the set. The back cover features The Destruction of Empire, the fourth in the set.

The paintings are part of the Collection of The New-York Historical Society.

Wikipedia has a very informative page explaining the five paintings and their significance.