The National Party Conventions


 “The Democratic Wild West at Denver”
  Cartoonist:  Edward Windsor Kemble
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   July 4, 1908, pp. 18-19

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
This Harper’s Weekly cartoon presents the 1908 Democratic National Convention in Denver as a Wild West show, starring presidential nominee William Jennings Bryan and New York Democrats, presumably loyal to Tammany Hall, the Democratic political machine of New York City. Historically, the organization had a mixed record of backing the party’s presidential nominees. It originally opposed Grover Cleveland in 1884 and only gave him grudging support in 1892. In 1896, with “Boss” Richard Croker out of the country, Tammany Hall did not actively campaign for Bryan in his first presidential race. Four years later, Croker ensured that the machine backed the Great Commoner before his second nomination, playing an influential role at the convention and in the campaign. Prior to the 1908 convention, Croker’s Tammany successor, Charles F. Murphy, endorsed Bryan’s third nomination.

Pictured here are (clockwise from left foreground): State Senator Patrick McCarren, who was actually the leader of the Brooklyn Democratic machine and a rival to Murphy and Tammany Hall; unknown; unknown; Bryan trying to stay on the bucking Democratic Donkey; Tammany Boss Murphy; State Senator Thomas F. Grady, who was a rousing speaker; William J. “Fingy” Conner of Buffalo, chairman of the state party organization; and Timothy D. Sullivan, a former congressman and state legislator who was one of the city’s largest gambling proprietors. The Wild West Show theme was previously used in a Judge cartoon about Bryan and the Democratic National Convention of 1900.













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