Democrats and the Tariff Question


 "A Dead Loss"
  Cartoonist:  William Allen Rogers
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   September 8, 1888, p. 668

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
A major strategy of the Republican campaign in 1888 was to paint President Grover Cleveland as pro-British because of his call for tariff reform (presumably to flood the country with British products) and his administrationís attempt to resolve a dispute between Canadian and American fishermen. The GOP focus had the dual purpose of making the Democratic nominee appear unpatriotic by selling out national interest and of appealing to Irish-Catholic voters who detested British rule of their native land. When the Republican-dominated Senate rejected the administrationís fisheries treaty in July 1888, the president responded by requesting congressional authority to ban the importation of all goods from British Canada. Congress refused, as Cleveland foresaw, but the request allowed him to appear tough with Britain. It was also a threat to New England Republicans, since the regionís railroads were the major transporter of products from Canada.

Here, the presidentís retaliation message is depicted as a bombshell that has destroyed the Republican strategy. Surveying the damage is a chagrined trio of Republican Party leaders (two from New England): Senator George Edmunds of Vermont; James Blaine of Maine, the Republican nominee in 1884; and, Benjamin Harrison of Indiana, the Republican nominee in 1888.













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