The National Party Conventions


 “Clear the Way!”
  Cartoonist:  Louis Dalrymple
  Source:  Judge
  Date:  June 11, 1904

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

Click to see a large version of this cartoon

Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
With President Theodore Roosevelt assured of a nomination in his own right, political speculation focused on who would be the 1904 Republican vice-presidential nominee. This cover of Judge, published shortly before the GOP convention met on June 21, showcases four possible nominees for the ticket’s second spot (left-right): Senator Charles Fairbanks of Indiana, Congressman Robert Hitt of Illinois, Speaker of the House Joseph Cannon of Illinois, and Senator Albert Beveridge of Indiana.

Not only would the two Midwestern states represented by the four men—Indiana and Illinois—geographically balance Roosevelt’s New York residency, but they were electoral swing states that Republicans wanted to win in the general election. Three of the men—Fairbanks, Hitt, and Cannon—were conservatives who would ideologically balance the president’s progressivism. Although Roosevelt favored Beveridge over Fairbanks in seeking advice and distributing patronage, Beveridge’s like-minded progressivism, relative inexperience (four years in elective office), and youth (41 years old) made him a long shot. The president expressed little interest in selection of a running mate, suggesting that 70-year-old Hitt would be acceptable, but leaving selection to the delegates. Fairbanks wanted to be president and repeatedly spurned suggestions that he would be ideal as a vice-presidential candidate. GOP delegates ignored his rebuffs and gave him a first-ballot nomination, which he accepted.

Nevertheless, this cartoon presents Congressman Cannon as the most prominent contender for the vice-presidential nomination. He sits on a cannon pulled by delegates from Nebraska, Nevada, Kansas, and California. Beveridge and Hitt push the cannon wheels forward, as an armed Fairbanks walks along the roadside. In 1904, the 68-year-old Cannon had spent 29 years in the U.S. House, where he was elected speaker in 1903. He was a stand-pat conservative, but largely cooperated with Roosevelt’s progressive agenda. His iron-fisted control of the House was labeled “Cannonism” and led to his eventual removal from the speakership in 1910. However, in the May 14, 1904 issue of Harper’s Weekly, editor George Harvey, while discussing possible Republican vice-presidential nominees, identified Cannon as “one of the most popular men in the United States, and who has gained the confidence of the conservative men of his party without alienating the progressives.” The next week, Harvey observed that Cannon had “declared repeatedly that under no circumstances would he accept the nomination for the Vice-Presidency.” (Fairbanks, who accepted the nomination, had made a similar declaration.) In the May 28 issue, Harvey reported that the Illinois delegation had endorsed Congressman Robert Hitt for the vice-presidential nomination.













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