The Irish Question


 “The Blainiac Programme”
  Cartoonist:  Friedrich Graetz
  Source:  Puck
  Date:   July 23, 1884, p. 331

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
This cartoon mocks Republican presidential nominee James Blaine's foreign policy in general, and his anti-British stance in particular; the latter of which was, critics charged, slanted to appeal to Irish-American voters who usually voted Democratic. (For a more complete explanation, see "Is This 'The True American Policy'?"). Dressed ridiculously in ill-fitting armor, Blaine solicits for Irish votes, having pierced the British Lion with an American flagpole. The presidential nominee, a former secretary of state, is armed with the sword of a "vigorous foreign policy," which worried the Independent (Mugwump) Republicans who bolted their party to endorse Democratic nominee Grover Cleveland.

Penetrating Blaine's cabbage-helmet is the quill pin of Gail Hamilton, his campaign biographer. Hamilton was the pen name of Mary Abigail Dodge, a journalist, essayist, fiction writer, and women's rights advocate, who was a cousin of Blaine's wife. She spent winters in the Blaine household, and may have been his speechwriter. The cabbage-helmet possibly refers to a passage in her book Gala Days (1863). "Cabbage" is also a slang term for petty theft.

Beating his drum behind Blaine is Senator John Logan, the Republican vice-presidential nominee.













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