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“The Bosses’ Convention”

Topic:
Democratic Nomination
Source:
Harper's Weekly
Cartoonist:
Thomas Nast
Date:
July 12, 1884, p. 441
Click for image enlargement and complete HarpWeek explanation >
Most Republicans who bolted their party after Blaine's nomination retained an ingrained skepticism about (if not outright aversion to) the character of the Democratic party. That attitude is evident in his Harper's Weekly cover cartoon in which artist Thomas Nast labels the Democratic National Convention a "circus." The issue was published July 2, just days before the meeting convened in Chicago. Blaine is depicted as the self-serving boss of a political machine, who associates with two similar bosses of the Democratic party, John Kelly (center) of New York City's Tammany Hall, and Benjamin Butler (right), former congressman and governor of Massachusetts. An intrigued Blaine ponders Kelly's promise to join the Republican nominee after the convention, if the Democratic nomination is not to the liking of the Tammany Hall leader. Blaine carries a salesman's satchel on which the cartoonist has transformed the title of the nominee's recently-published political history, Twenty Years in Congress, into a selfish pitch for himself. Under his arm, Blaine totes his record, which is filled with scandals ("Mulligan Letters").
Click for image enlargement and complete HarpWeek explanation >

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