The Cash Candidate and Campaign Contributions


 “Good Business!”
  Cartoonist:  William Allen Rogers
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   January 25, 1908, p. 3

Click to see a large version of this cartoon...

Click to see a large version of this cartoon

Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
Before entering the presidential race in 1908, William Jennings Bryan had been very popular and financially successful on the lecture circuit. The report that he made $52,000 ($990,000 in 2002 dollars) from speaking fees in 1907 is presented in this cartoon as contradicting his reputation as a politician concerned foremost with the interests of the common people. Here, he has a self-satisfied look as he relaxes in a dollar-sign easy chair flanked by his chained “policy” dogs (resembling dogs of war). Cartoonists had previously used the term “My Policies” to mock President Theodore Roosevelt’s egotism. In 1908, Rogers associated it with Roosevelt, Bryan (as here), and publisher-politician William Randolph Hearst. Atop the safe holding his lecture fees is a gold cross, which is encased in glass. The image refers to his famous “Cross of Gold” speech, which helped him win the Democratic presidential nomination (at the age of 36) in 1896. In that oration, he professed to speak for average Americans who were allegedly being crucified by supporters of the gold standard. In this cartoon, his sincere populist passion is now a relic of the past.













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