Harper's Weekly Splits the Ticket


 "The Irrepressible Independent"
  Cartoonist:  William Allen Rogers
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   October 20, 1888, p. 803

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
This cartoon further clarifies the political independence of Harper’s Weekly during the 1888 election by portraying the newspaper’s endorsement of Democrat Grover Cleveland for reelection as president, Republican Warner Miller for governor of New York, and Citizens Democrat Abram Hewitt for reelection as mayor of New York City. Editor George William Curtis argued that New York had probably not had a better mayor than Hewitt since De Witt Clinton (1803-1814). Here, the same figure as in "Splitting the Ticket," leads a parade of independent voters representing all classes—the attire identifies the main figure as middle class, the man behind him as working class, and the third man as upper class. With a gesture of firm refusal, they march past party ticket booths manned by Tammany Democrat Hugh J. Grant, mayoral candidate; Democrat David B. Hill, gubernatorial candidate; and, Republican Benjamin Harrison, presidential candidate.

In this cartoon, Hugh Grant is opposed because he is backed by the political machine of Tammany Hall and would stand against civil service reform at the municipal level. Hill is rejected because of his demagoguery and the New York Democratic Party’s opposition to high license fees for alcohol distributors. Harrison is passed by because of the Republican Party’s national platform plank endorsing repeal of taxes on alcohol used in the arts (here, changed to “black arts”) and its call for the abolition of internal taxes (which would include on all alcohol) rather than dismantling the protective tariff system. On election day, cartoonist Rogers and Harper’s Weekly came out on the losing end in all three contests: Harrison won New York’s electoral votes and the presidency, Hill was reelected governor, and Hugh Grant beat Hewitt and Republican Joel Erhardt to become mayor.













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