An epic lack of foresight, accuracy and rationale... https://www.tfmetalsreport.com/comment/170246#comment-170246
Above, by artist Bernhard Gillam, from the centerspread of the September 24th, 1884 issue of Puck magazine, we have the 1884 G.O.P. Presidential-nominee, James Blaine, featured in the cartoon Blaine Will Be Vindicated in November.
The cartoon is a play on an argument given by the N.Y. Tribune (then a Republican mouthpiece newspaper, twisting and inventing “facts”, as per Fox News today), on why Blaine should and would become President. Blaine is seen here, posed as Caesar, while the N.Y. Tribune‘s editor Reid “interviews” him. The jist of the article (at least, as Puck would have it) was that the stock swindling and corruption in Blaine’s history, should be ignored, and would be forgiven/vindicated as nothing, by his election to President. A crowd of bank and stock swindlers ask that they, too, be forgiven. As do men atop the prison in the background.
Clicking on the above cartoon will allow you to view it in detail, and read the various texts inside it.
The pedestal upon which Blaine stands, has the carved words, “What are you going to do about it?” — the same words that Thomas Nast used repeatedly against crooked Tammany Hall politician, Boss Tweed (pictured behind Blaine, in black & white, in the style of Nast’s drawings). Tweed holds a placard lamenting why wasn’t he vindicated as well?
This is part of the series of cartoons depicting Blaine as a “Tattooed Man”, covered head-to-toe with his various sins. (Though in this cartoon, the ones on his arms are barely visible, and his face doesn’t appear tattooed at all — there really wasn’t an effort to make the placement of tattooes consistent from one cartoon to the next. And that wasn’t the point.)
The Free Silver Highwayman At It Again / Puck 1896
Summary: Print shows a highwayman identified as a "Silverite", holding two handguns labeled "Free Coinage" and "McKinleyism", and with papers extending from a pocket labeled "Paternalism" and "Wild Cat Schemes"; he is holding-up a stagecoach labeled "National Prosperity" with passengers labeled "Lawmaker, Banker, Farmer, Workingman, Manufacturer, [and] Merchant". The "Lawmaker" and the "Merchant" have both hands raised, while the "Banker, Farmer, Workingman, [and] Manufacturer" are reaching into their pockets.
Creator(s): Keppler, Udo J., 1872-1956, artist
No party lines when the national honor is in peril
Summary: Print shows the combined forces of the gold standard supporters, including some newspaper editors, and a reluctant William McKinley, marching under the standard "The Nation's Credit Must Be Upheld", toward a fort labeled "Fort 16 to 1" flying the banner "Repudiation", and manned by soldiers armed with pitchforks and scythes. The newspaper editors are staffing the big guns labeled "Sound Money Press".
Dalrymple, Louis, 1866-1905, artist
Summary: Print shows a "Silver Mine Owner" as a "silver-tongued ventriloquist" sitting on a box labeled "16 to 1" on a stage, with William Jennings Bryan as a dummy sitting on his lap, holding papers labeled "Free Silver Harangues", and with two boxes at the mine owner's feet containing dummy Arthur "Sewall" on the right and dummies William A. "Peffer", Benjamin R. "Tillman", John P. "Altgeld", and George F. "Williams" on the left.
Title: What show have you got, little man? / Keppler - 1908
Creator(s): Keppler, Udo J.,
Summary: Illustration shows a man wearing top hat and tuxedo labeled "Stock Manipulation", one hand resting on a deck of "Marked Cards" and the other on a stack of gambling chips next to "Loaded Dice" and a wheel labeled "Brace Roulette", all on a playing table labeled "Wall Str[eet]", behind him are money bags and papers labeled "Fiduciary Funds, Treasury Deposits, Other Peoples' Money, Bank Loans, [and] Pools"; standing in the foreground and looking up at the man is a diminutive man holding his "Savings" behind his back.
Title: Forced to peddle, though he is rich
Caption: And this humiliating state of things will continue until Congress regains its reason and gives him a sensible financial system.
Title: "On earth peace, good will toward men"
Title: Fizz! Boom!! Ah!!!
Caption: They are making great preparations for their Populistic Pyrotechnical display; but it will be only another fizzle.
Title: Casting pearls before - silverites
Title: The goat-keeper
Title: It was about time he woke up
Title: An Easter sermon
Caption: Yellow journalism is more dangerous to our peace, prosperity and national honor than all the enemies outside our gates.
PUCK ON CIVIL WAR PENSIONS
In keeping with its oft-sounded theme of opposing corruption in public offices and public programs, Puck saw the Civil War Pension system as a classic example of political corruption. Many issues of Puck at the end of the century editorialized on the topic of Civil War Pensions.
The first issue reproduced in part here, from December 1882, features a powerful editorial cartoon on the cover, whose meaning is pretty much self-evident, along with some observations from the editors on the inside front cover of the issue. The cartoon features a gluttonous, multi-armed, veteran feeding voraciously from the U. S. Treasury.
The second cartoon was featured on the cover of Puck in the May 29, 1889 issue. This editorial features a golden Horn of Plenty reaching into the U. S. Treasury and pouring forth, through the Pension Bureau, unlimited money upon the up-reaching greedy hands of the public. The figure holding the Horn, labeled Tanner, was the director of the Pension Bureau during this time. The caption for the cartoon suggests that the Pension Bureau will exhaust any surplus in the Treasury before the election of 1892. This was an issue of the day because the outgoing President in 1889, Grover Cleveland, had left a sizable budget surplus at the end of his term and the editors of Puck (who were Cleveland supporters) feared that the new Republican President, Benjamin Harrison, would squander the surplus through extravagant pensions for veterans.
The issue of veterans pensions also had special importance for the contest between Cleveland and Harrison in that Cleveland had made taking a hard-line against expansion of the system of Civil War pensions one of the major policies of his first Administration. In fact, Cleveland was the first postbellum President to actually veto a private bill from the Congress awarding a pension to a particular individual--he vetoed several hundred such bills. His vetoes of private bills led to the creation of a political organization of Civil War veterans, known as the Grand Army of the Republic, to push for a broader and more generous general pension bill, which Cleveland also vetoed and which was a factor in his defeat in the election of 1888.
The third cartoon, from 1893, shows that the issue of pensions was still in political play following the election of 1892 in which Cleveland defeated Harrison and reclaimed the Presidency. After Cleveland took office in 1893 Harrison began the old attacks on the pension issue. At a GAR rally in Indianapolis he made the remark quoted in the caption of the cartoon. Harrison was complaining that Civil War pensions were not generous enough. The cartoonist is belittling this remark by Harrison and depicting Civil War pensions as an outmoded burden on the nation.
We are also featuring three sets of editorial commentaries on the Civil War Pensions: the first is from the same issue as the first cartoon; the second was published in 1889, although not in the same issue as the second editorial cartoon; and the third is a commentary on the cover cartoon, which appeared in the same issue.
Cover cartoon from Puck magazine, December 20, 1882. Author's collection.
Cover editorial cartoon from May 29, 1889 issue of Puck magazine. Author's collection.
Puck editorial cartoon, September 20, 1893. Author's collection.