The National Party Conventions


 “The Republican Convention”
  Cartoonist:  Louis M. Glackens
  Source:  Puck
  Date:  June 10, 1908

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
Published just as Republicans were gathering in Chicago, this cartoon from the Democratic Puck focuses on President Theodore Roosevelt’s dominance of the party’s national convention. The illustration is designed in the shape of Roosevelt’s characteristic spectacles and toothy grin.

The image in the left foreground plays on the popularity of the president among Republicans in the West (where he often traveled on hunting expeditions) by showing a cowboy asking him for “another bottle of Teddy bitters” (i.e., a third term). Roosevelt responds that the “Taft Bitters,” which he has bottled himself, is “just as good.”

The center-foreground picture is a parody of the saying “If Mohammad (here, Mahout) won’t go the mountain, the mountain will go to Mohammad.” Roosevelt is Mohammad, who passes the staff of “My Policies” to Taft, the mountain (a joke about the candidate’s weight). The Republican Elephant is bandaged and bruised from Roosevelt’s administration.

The right-foreground scene of the president as an actor in the role of Caesar [link] is a visual pun on Roosevelt’s leadership, which critics charged with being overaggressive in foreign policy and unconstitutional in domestic affairs. Note that the lamp resembles a globe. His personal secretary, William Loeb Jr., is a boy whose job is to cue actors when it time for them to appear on stage. The dialogue emphasizes how the delegates want Roosevelt to run for a third term, a plea that he rejects.

The figures in the eyeglass lenses are conservatives unhappy (left) with Roosevelt’s economic management, business regulation, and antitrust lawsuits, who then cheer (right) after Taft is nominated. The men are (left-right): James J. Hill, president of the Great Northern Railroad; John Pierpont Morgan, founder of J. P. Morgan & Co.; Thomas Fortune Ryan, president of the American Tobacco Company and the Metropolitan Street Railway Company; John D. Rockefeller, president of Standard Oil; Edward Harriman, president of the Union Pacific Railroad Company; Speaker of the House Joseph Cannon; Senator Joseph Foraker of Ohio; and, Senator Nelson Aldrich of Rhode Island.













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