Altgeld and Anarchism


 "Hell Broth"
  Cartoonist:  William Allen Rogers
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   October 10, 1896, p. 993

Click to see a large version of this cartoon...

Click to see a large version of this cartoon

Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
Published about a month before the November 3 election, this postdated cartoon conjures an image of the nation’s hellish fate if voters choose the Democratic ticket. Feeding the boiling cauldron of “Class Hatred” are (left-right) Senator “Pitchfork Ben” Tillman of South Carolina, Democratic presidential nominee William Jennings Bryan, and Governor John Peter Altgeld of Illinois holding the “anarchy” torch. The illustration dramatically conveys the message that the most dangerous thing about the Democratic Party in 1896 is its control by radical politicians. For the first and only time in Harper’s Weekly during the 1896 campaign, this cartoon includes Bryan as an equal in that group. He was shown in an earlier image as an innocent mask for anarchism, but was otherwise absent from cartoons condemning the Democrats’ alleged extremism.

Here, the three men appear as the witches from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, reminiscent of two Thomas Nast cartoons from previous presidential contests. In 1868, Nast caricatured vice presidential nominee Frank Blair, former Confederate general Wade Hampton, and Democratic presidential nominee Horatio Seymour as the Macbeth witches. In 1884, the famous cartoonist spoofed Republican presidential nominee James Blaine and his campaign managers, New York Tribune editor Whitelaw Reid and Congressman William Walter Phelps, in a whimsical, Oscar Wildean version. The latter election marked the first time Harper's Weekly backed a Democratic presidential nominee (Grover Cleveland).













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