Alton B. Parker: Pro and Con


  Cartoonist:  Victor Gillam
  Source:  Judge
  Date:  August 20, 1904

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
This double-page cartoon of the pro-Republican Judge predicts that Democratic presidential nominee Alton B. Parker will be unsuccessful in his dive for presidential treasure. As in the past, cartoonist Victor Gillam critically equates the Democratic call for tariff reform with free trade. Other parts of Parker’s scuba-diving suit refer to proposed reductions in military spending, support from Tammany Hall, a progressive income tax (not included in the party platform), and “Tricky Politics.” The candidate is assisted (on the far left) by businessman August Belmont Jr., Parker’s campaign treasurer, and Democratic National Committee Chairman Thomas Taggart, a former Indianapolis mayor (1895-1901), who both hold the wheels of the “Democratic Machine.” James K. Jones, former U.S. senator from Arkansas, listens to New York State Senator Patrick H. McCarren, boss of the Brooklyn Democratic machine.

In front of Jones sits Richard Olney, the former U.S. attorney general and secretary of state. Congressman John Sharp Williams of Mississippi, the House minority leader, holds Parker’s diving-helmet, which is labeled “Doubtful Money.” Standing behind the nominee are Charles F. Murphy (left), the boss of Tammany Hall, and Senator Arthur Pue Gorman of Delaware (right). Judge George Gray of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals adjusts Parker’s “Tricky Politics” boot. Judge cartoonists used Miss Democracy to personify the party. On the boat is vice-presidential nominee Henry G. Davis sitting on his barrel of money. The railroad owner may not have donated as much of his personal wealth as party leaders hoped, but he did contribute over one-third of the entire fund.

The scuba-diving theme of this cartoon is similar to that of a Harper’s Weekly cartoon of 1880, which featured Democratic presidential nominee Winfield S. Hancock.













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