McKinley and the Economy


 “The Full Dinner-Pail Argument Has Too Long a Reach for Mr. Bryan”
  Cartoonist:  Eugene “Zim” Zimmerman
  Source:  Judge
  Date:  April 21, 1900

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

Click to see a large version of this cartoon

Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
The boxing scene is a traditional setting for political cartoons, but is enhanced here by use of a large, muscular dinner pail to symbolize the return of economic prosperity during the first term of President William McKinley. Specifically targeting the labor vote, the emblem represents how Republican economic policies have benefited the average worker with “increased wages” and a higher standard of living (a “full dinner pail”) after years of economic depression during the Democratic administration of President Grover Cleveland (1893-1897). As a border for its magazine covers, Judge magazine soon began running the symbol and motto, “Four More Years of the Full Dinner Pail,” both of which were later adopted by the Republican National Committee for the 1900 campaign.

Here, the “Full Dinner Pail” easily knocks out William Jennings Bryan, the expected (and eventual) Democratic presidential nominee. Standing behind the symbol are Senator William Allison of Iowa, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, and President McKinley holding “Administration Tonic.” Behind Bryan, financier August Belmont Jr. prepares to apply “Democratic Lucre” to the wounded candidate, while Senator James K. Jones of Arkansas, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, produces the hot air of “Democratic Wind.” The barrel labeled “U. S. Tan Bark” may refer to the bark of oak trees used in tanning hides—a slang phrase for whipping or defeating someone.













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