Bryan and Free Silver


 “See How the Free-Silver Magnet Attracts All the Bad Elements in American Politics”
  Cartoonist:  Eugene Zimmerman
  Source:  Judge
  Date:  September 22, 1900

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
Although the money question was not the central issue in the 1900 presidential campaign that it had been in 1896, Republicans continued to warn that William Jennings Bryan’s refusal to abandon the quest for inflationary money was a risk to the economic future of the nation. The twofold message of this 1900 Judge cartoon is that free silver remains the biggest issue and that it “attracts all the bad elements in American politics.”

Those disreputable figures are (clockwise from lower left): the Tammany Tiger, Tammany boss Richard Croker, a Populist, New York City Mayor Robert Van Wyck, Tammanyite Augustus Van Wyck (the mayor’s brother), Senator “Pitchfork Ben” Tillman of South Carolina (the Red Shirts were an anti-black paramilitary group in South Carolina during Reconstruction), the scissors and paste of “yellow journalism” (press sensationalism), the crown of “Democratic imperialism,” Bryan the fool with his free-silver balloon, the stupid Democratic Donkey, former Illinois governor John Peter Altgeld with the flame of anarchy, a bomb- and gun-toting Socialist, Democratic vice presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson holding a placard announcing his alleged Copperheadism (Confederate sympathy during the Civil War), and former senator David B. Hill as an unwanted (Gold) Democrat.













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