This parody of Theodore Roosevelt’s letter formally accepting the Republican presidential nomination is based on the nonsense lyrics of a popular comic song of the period, “The Bulldog on the Bank.” The first verse of which was:
O the bulldog on the bank, and the bullfrog in the pool
The bulldog called the bullfrog a great big water fool
In his acceptance letter of September 12, Roosevelt claimed to have remained true to the principles of President McKinley, attributed economic prosperity to protective tariffs, promised to adhere to the gold standard, and criticized Democrats for trying to defeat the Panama Canal treaty, although he avoided mentioning the administration’s antitrust policy.
Harper’s Weekly editor George Harvey characterized the document as “a direct, personal challenge to the Judge [Alton B. Parker, the Democratic nominee,] to come into the open and fight it out on every point he cares to raise.” In Parker’s letter of acceptance of September 25, he affirmed the Democratic platform while making clear that he supported the gold standard. However, his letter was ambiguous on what his policy toward the Philippines would be, and he denied that additional antitrust legislation was necessary. Harper’s labeled the letter “innocuous” in the face of Roosevelt’s “defiant” one. Parker’s document disappointed many Democrats for its lack of clarity, and did little to enhance the candidate’s chance of election.