Alton B. Parker: Pro and Con


 “Bulldozing the Public"
  Cartoonist:  Eugene Zimmerman
  Source:  Judge
  Date:  October 15, 1904

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

Click to see a large version of this cartoon

Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
Here, the Democratic national ticket of 1904 is presented as a circus show to fool (“bulldoze”) the voting public. The promotional images on the curtain portray presidential nominee Alton B. Parker (left) and vice-presidential nominee Henry G. Davis (right) as strongmen who will uphold “Sound Money” (i.e., the gold standard) and “Clean Politics.” The word “trusts” (i.e., large business corporations) is tattooed backward on Parker’s chest. Sitting atop the Democratic Donkey is financier August B. Belmont Jr., Parker’s campaign treasurer, appearing as the circus barker and wearing a jockey’s uniform (he was a major breeder of racehorses). David B. Hill, Parker’s campaign manager, sits by the padlocked voting box and holds a paper announcing his retirement from “show business” (i.e., politics) after the election.

Behind the curtain is the “reality” of a spindly Parker wearing a “Trust Protector” and holding a “Political Graft” weight. Behind him, Davis (left), who owned several prosperous coalmines, lifts a “Coal Trust” boulder and Democratic National Committee Chairman Thomas Taggart (right) holds “Gambling Trust” cards. In 1897, while he was mayor of Indianapolis, Taggart opened a spa and resort at French Lick, Indiana, which became very popular. Despite rumors, he always denied any connection with the neighboring gambling casinos. Appearing as clowns are former president Grover Cleveland (left) and Senator Arthur Pue Gorman of Maryland (right). The fool in the background is William Jennings Bryan, the former (1896, 1900) and future (1908) Democratic presidential nominee. “Bulldozing” was also a term used to label the practice of intimidation and violence against black voters in the South (who were overwhelming Republican).

The visual metaphor of circus posters was used previously in Harper’s Weekly cartoons during the 1880 and 1888 campaigns.













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