Alton B. Parker: Pro and Con


 “The Democratic Surprise-Party"
  Cartoonist:  Louis Dalrymple
  Source:  Judge
  Date:  October 1, 1904

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

Click to see a large version of this cartoon

Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
On this Judge cover, Uncle Sam is personified as the farm vote in New England delivering a rude shock to Democratic presidential nominee Alton B. Parker. Since 1848, federal law required presidential elections to be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. However, some states in the nineteenth century held state and congressional elections in the late summer or early fall. These “October” elections, especially in key swing states, were considered a good indicator of the results of the upcoming presidential contest. By the mid-1880s, most states had aligned their elections to coincide with the November presidential election. However, a few of the smaller states, like Maine and Vermont, retained the distinction into the early-twentieth century.

In 1904, the Republican state and congressional tickets were successful in the early Vermont and Maine elections, as pictured here. That outcome was not the surprise depicted in the cartoon, though, since both were dependable states for the GOP. An excerpt from Roosevelt’s letter of acceptance is reprinted in the upper-left corner. In it, the president describes the productivity of the American farming and manufacturing sectors as mutually dependent, and rests both on the protective tariff. The tag tied to Parker’s coattail refers to his elderly vice-presidential running mate, Henry G. Davis (who turned 81 on November 16, 1904). The image copies the famous symbol of Harper’s Weekly cartoonist Thomas Nast, who used a tag on the coattail of the 1872 Democratic presidential nominee, Horace Greeley, to ridicule his little-known running mate, B. Gratz Brown.













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