“Boodle” Blaine: Public Office for Private Gain


 “‘The Foremost Man of the Time.’—Blaineism”
  Cartoonist:  Thomas Nast
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   August 16, 1884, p. 542

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
While Blaine's supporters praised him as a man of talent and accomplishment, cartoonist Thomas Nast contends that the Republican presidential nominee has spent 20 years in public service raking in government largesse for which he personally profited. In this and other cartoons, Nast pictures Blaine with the roomy bag of a door-to-door salesman to communicate the idea that the Republican presidential nominee is a political huckster. A "dead-head" is a person who has a free pass or complimentary ticket to ride on public transportation, or it can mean a stupid, ineffectual person. It was a term that Blaine used in one of the Mulligan letters: "I do not feel that I shall prove a dead-head in any enterprise…" The "20 Years" label which appears on the peddler's-bag is a reference to Blaine's memoirs of his public life, Twenty Years in Congress (vol. 1, 1884).












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