Bryan and Tammany Hall


 “Wide-Open New York Welcomes Mr. Bryan”
  Cartoonist:  William Allen Rogers
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   October 13, 1900, pp. 964-965

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
In mid-October, Bryan took his campaign to the key electoral state of New York. The situation in that swing state did not bode well for Democrats. Tammany Hall boss Richard Croker was at odds with state party boss David B. Hill, and Tammany Hall was receiving an avalanche of negative publicity regarding its corrupt practices. Headlines in the spring and summer of 1900 condemned the Ice Trust for gouging customers while enriching themselves. Major investors in the Ice Trust included Croker, New York Mayor Robert Van Wyck, and his brother, Augustus Van Wyck, who had lost the 1898 gubernatorial contest to Republican Theodore Roosevelt.

In the October 22, 1898 issue of Harper’s Weekly, journalist-reformer Franklin Matthews had reported in an exposé entitled “‘Wide-Open’ New York” of Tammany-related police corruption, in which officers ignored vice laws and extorted money from pool halls, gambling dens, saloons, dancehalls, and brothels. Two years later, in the October 13, 1900 issue in which this cartoon appears, Matthews returned to the theme with an article entitled, “The Cost of Tammany Hall in Flesh and Blood.” It detailed increases in the city’s murder rate, juvenile crime, and unsanitary conditions (partly from the Ice Trust scandal), and called attention to the women and children who were often victims of the situation.

Here, Bryan rides alongside Croker in a “wide-open” carriage driven by the Wyck brothers (left-right, “Bob” and “Gus”), as the Democratic presidential nominee is welcomed to New York City by a crowd of gamblers, saloonkeepers, and other disreputable residents. The Democratic Donkeys appear as zebras (suggesting prison uniforms) and wear blinders depicting the “bunco” silver dollar and the crown of “Imperialism.”













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