Reid and Phelps


 “Lashing Himself Into Fever Heat”
  Cartoonist:  Thomas Nast
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   October 18, 1884, p. 690

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
In this cartoon, artist Thomas Nast revives, to some extent, the "bloody shirt" of previous campaigns. In the past, Nast and other Republicans "waved the bloody shirt" by associating the Democratic party with slavery, secession, and anti-black violence. Since Nast bolted his party in 1884 to support Democratic presidential nominee Grover Cleveland, the cartoonist depicts Whitelaw Reid, New York Tribune editor and leading supporter of Republican nominee James Blaine, as a slave-driver. Reid uses heated partisan rhetoric in his editorials (excerpted on the right wall) in order to beat his Mugwump opponents (pro-Cleveland Republicans) into submission.

The Tribune editor contends that the tariff is the sole issue of the campaign. He also claims that British free-trade is a legacy of slavery, hurts American workers, and is secretly backed by Cleveland and his advisors. Nast contradicts the centrality of the tariff by posting a rebuttal from Pennsylvania's Independent (pro-Cleveland) Republicans, arguing that tariff protection was not at stake in the election. Pennsylvanians of all parties were largely supportive of protective tariffs, and the excerpt accurately reveals that the Independents (Mugwumps) were divided on the controversial issue.













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