The Hill and Tammany Machines


 “Tardy Help”
  Cartoonist:  Victor Gillam
  Source:  Judge
  Date:   August 27, 1892, p. 133

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
This cartoon reveals the passive hostility of the New York political machines of Senator David B. Hill and Tammany Hall to the presidential candidacy of Grover Cleveland. With a fire raging at “The Democratic Hotel” across the street, Democratic national chairman William Harrity tries to rouse the assistance of (left-right): Senator Hill; “Boss” Richard Croker of Tammany Hall; and Democratic state chairman Edward Murphy. Croker and Murphy ignore Harrity at the direction of Hill, who says, “Let her burn, boys; and when the flames have gone too far we will make a bluff at extinguishing them!”

Since New York in the late-nineteenth century was a swing state with the most electoral votes of any state, it was crucial for success in the Electoral College. In 1884, New York provided Cleveland, then its sitting governor, with his thin margin of victory in the presidential sweepstakes. Four years later, he lost the state and his bid for reelection. In 1892, New York was again considered of vital importance. Cleveland’s campaign manager William Whitney finally arranged a meeting on September 8 between the reluctant candidate and his home-state enemies, representatives from the Tammany and Hill machines, although the senator himself refused to attend. Cleveland refused firm promises, but those present agreed to aid the Cleveland campaign. The Democratic nominee went on to win New York and the 1892 presidential election.













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