James G. Blaine: Power Behind the Throne?


 "The Republican Candidate and His Warwick"
  Cartoonist:  William Allen Rogers
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   October 13, 1888, p. 769

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
This cartoon continues the theme of James Blaine as the power behind Harrison’s throne. The citation informs readers with a quote from Shakespeare’s King Henry IV, Part II that the Republican nominee is sleeping uneasily as he dreams of Blaine dominating his administration and the world. The former and future secretary of state is called “Warwick,” after the first earl of Warwick, Richard Neville (1428-1471), who was known as “the kingmaker” for his role in England’s Wars of the Roses.

Here, Blaine casually and confidently leans back in his chair as he clutches a mighty club sarcastically labeled “diplomacy” (opponents considered his foreign policy to be aggressively reckless). He disrespectfully rests his feet on the globe around which tiny world leaders (British, Russian, German, Turkish, et al.) pay deference to the Republican leader on bended knees. The feathers in Blaine’s hat allude to his nickname, “Plumed Knight,” taken from Robert Ingersoll’s speech nominating Blaine for president in 1876. On Harrison’s crown the Republican elephant jostles with the tariff giraffe over the issue of the federal surplus.

As President Harrison’s secretary of state, Blaine chaired the first Pan-American Conference (1889-1890) and advocated reciprocal tariff agreements between Latin America and the United States. He also negotiated a treaty with Britain to arbitrate a Canadian-U. S. controversy over seal hunting in the Bering Sea. However, relations between the two men deteriorated over the years, culminating in Blaine’s resignation from the cabinet in 1892 to seek the Republican presidential nomination against Harrison. The president, however, was renominated on the first ballot, with Blaine and Governor William McKinley of Ohio in a near-tie for a distant second place.













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