The National Party Conventions


 “A Noble Effort"
  Cartoonist:  William Allen Rogers
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   July 23, 1904, p. 1123

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
This Harper’s Weekly cartoon approves the effort of Democratic presidential nominee Alton B. Parker to add a “gold plank” to his party’s national platform. In 1896 and 1900, William Jennings Bryan had been soundly defeated while advocating free silver. In 1904, Parker was a staunch defender of the gold standard. Here, he attempts to pull the Democratic Donkey out of the “Free Silver Bog” into which it has fallen. (“Esopus” was the name of his hometown in New York.)

Specifically, the image refers to Parker’s “Gold Telegram.” Although gold-standard advocates were in the majority at the 1904 Democratic National Convention, there were enough free-silver supporters to force delegates to remove the gold plank from the proposed platform. When he learned of the turn of events, Parker telegrammed the convention that the gold standard was “firmly and irrevocably established” and that he would act “accordingly.” He bluntly asserted that if delegates found his opinion on the issue unsatisfactory, then he would not accept the nomination. This caused a furor at the convention, but delegates approved a response justifying the omission on the basis that it would not be an issue in the campaign. Parker acquiesced, but endorsed the gold standard again in his formal letter of acceptance on September 25.













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