The Dewey Presidential Boom and Bust


 “A Much-Needed Comedy Element in the Campaign of 1900”
  Cartoonist:  Louis Dalrymple
  Source:  Puck
  Date:  May 9, 1900

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
When announcing his presidential candidacy in a New York World interview on April 3, 1900, Admiral George Dewey asserted that the job of chief executive was easy: the president just had to make sure that laws passed by Congress were enforced. That and similar remarks demonstrated the admiral’s naïveté about politics and government, and had him a laughingstock among politicians and the press. One example of the press satire was humorist Peter Finley Dunne’s “Mr. Dooley: On Admiral Dewey’s Candidacy,” which was published in the April 21, 1900 issue of Harper’s Weekly.

In this Puck cartoon, Dewey appears as a clown bringing comic relief to the presidential campaign. He wears a dunce cap featuring a ribbon reading “I am a candidate,” and has a paper in his pocket referring to his initial refusal to identify his party affiliation: “I guess I'm a Democrat.” The reaction to his misstatements caused him to withdraw from the race in mid-May. Here, the trial balloon for his candidacy—labeled, “It’s easy to be president”—has deflated. The eventual Democratic and Republican nominees—respectively, William Jennings Bryan (left) and William McKinley (right)—watch Dewey’s performance with amusement. The ringmaster is the emblem of Puck magazine.













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