Butler and Blaine


 “When It Comes to the Lion, Business Between Ben and Jim, It’s Nip and Tuck”
  Cartoonist:  Thomas Nast
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   September 6, 1884, p. 575

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

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
Thomas Nast drew several cartoons for Harper's Weekly during the 1884 presidential campaign which featured Republican nominee James Blaine and Greenback-Labor nominee Benjamin Butler in tandem. Both men were seeking to make inroads into the Irish working-class constituency of the Democratic party, so they denounced Great Britain at every turn: for its "unfair" competition in American markets, policies toward Ireland, and imperialist expansion into the Western Hemisphere. The catch-phrase for criticism of British foreign policy by American politicians was called "twisting the lion's tail" (the lion was a symbol of Great Britain).

In this cover-cartoon, Blaine (right) twists the lion's tail, while Butler (left) turns its head around. Through the storefront window, a British gentleman gasps in horror at their behavior. The designation "Furs" relates to a longstanding dispute between the United States and Great Britain over the killing of seals in the Bering Sea (for sealskin apparel). The U.S., joined by Canada and Japan, claimed that the British were over-hunting and dangerously diminishing the number of seals. In 1893, an accord was finally signed on the issue.













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