Bryan and Tammany Hall


 “Shocked At Corruption”
  Cartoonist:  William Allen Rogers
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   October 20, 1900, p. 977

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
This cover cartoon for Harper’s Weekly satirizes William Jennings Bryan as a hypocrite. The Democratic presidential nominee (right) holds a speech (quoted in the caption) in which he criticized Republican corruption. (It was delivered in Salem, Illinois, Bryan’s hometown, where Abraham Lincoln had lived as a young man.) Bryan alleged that Republicans would buy, coerce, and intimidate every voter that could be bought, coerced, or intimidated, as well as bribe election judges. The Republican national chairman, Senator Mark Hanna of Ohio, replied that the charges were false and represented a desperate smear tactic by a man who was about to lose the general election. The Democratic national chairman, Senator James K. Jones of Arkansas, admitted that his party had no proof to substantiate Bryan’s claims.

Here, the Democratic nominee bows to Tammany boss Richard Croker, who wears a tiger-striped suit and sits in front of a cabinet filled with extortion money. Atop the cabinet is a bust of the Tammany Tiger wearing a police helmet, indicating the graft that the New York City Democratic machine gained through the corrupt Police Department. On the other side of Croker is John Peter Altgeld, the former governor of Illinois (1893-1897). In 1896, he played a key role in Bryan’s first presidential nomination and campaign. At that time, Altgeld was targeted by cartoonist W. A. Rogers to represent the threat of Anarchism, because of his pardon of three anarchists imprisoned in connection with the Haymarket Bombing in Chicago (1886) and his opposition to the use of federal troops to restore order during the Pullman Strike of 1894. Altgeld was less prominent in Bryan’s 1900 campaign and appeared in only three Harper’s Weekly cartoons.













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