Taft, Roosevelt, and the Republican Nomination


 “The Great Renunciation”
  Cartoonist:  Louis M. Glackens
  Source:  Puck
  Date:  June 3, 1908

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

Click to see a large version of this cartoon

Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
This Puck cartoon was published just a few weeks before the Republican National Convention met in Chicago. Secretary of War William Howard Taft had already, as of the end of May, accumulated enough delegates to win the GOP presidential nomination on the first ballot by a landslide. Here, the Republican Elephant embraces a gleeful Taft in a gesture of polite acceptance and congratulation. However, the cartoon’s clear message is that the party is saddened that its preferred candidate, President Theodore Roosevelt, was keeping a pledge, made shortly after winning the 1904 election, not to seek a third term. Into early 1908, many Republicans hoped, and newspapers speculated, that he would change his mind and enter the race.

This image reflects the impending reality of Taft’s nomination, which provokes the elephant to shed tears and look longingly at a portrait of Roosevelt in his Rough Rider uniform (as a colonel in the Spanish-American War). At the convention in mid-June, the casual mention of the president’s name by the convention chairman, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, set off a rousing 49-minute demonstration. Delegates chanted, “four, four, four years more,” in a futile attempt to convince the president to break his no-third-term vow.

Cartoonist Louis M. Glackens was the brother of the well-known American painter, William Glackens.













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