Bryan: The Folly of Youth


 "The Rashness of Youth"
  Cartoonist:  William Allen Rogers
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   September 26, 1896, p. 937

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
With the Democratic Party calling for the free coinage of silver, Harper's Weekly editor Carl Schurz began discussing the situation in Mexico and other countries where the coinage of silver was set by the government rather than the market ratio to gold. The Mexican silver dollar, with higher silver content than the American silver coin, was worth 50 cents (U.S.). According to Schurz, in such nations the value of money is debased and fluctuates widely. In the September 26 issue, he pointed out, “The purchase by the [American federal] government, for nearly fifteen years, of the entire annual product of silver in the United States did not fix its relation to gold and prevent wide variations from week to week in its value…”

In this cover cartoon, the Mexican “Free Coinage of Silver” bull has gored the Mexican toreador with its “Low Wages” and “High Prices” horns, sending the bullfighter flying into the air—emblematic of an inflationary economy. Undeterred by the calamity, Democratic presidential nominee William Jennings Bryan, appearing as a rash boy (“Little Willie”), urges Uncle Sam to join him in the free-silver bullring. Republican presidential nominee William McKinley calmly grasps Uncle Sam’s arm to keep him seated on the gold standard.













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