Bryan’s Continuing Presence


 “Out of Reach"
  Cartoonist:  J. S. Pughe
  Source:  Puck
  Date:  June 15, 1904

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

Click to see a large version of this cartoon

Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
In 1904, the two leaders of left-wing Democrats were William Jennings Bryan, the party’s unsuccessful nominee in 1896 and 1900, and publisher William Randolph Hearst, who was at the time also a Democratic congressman from New York (1903-1907). Harper’s Weekly spoke of the Hearst-Bryan combination in early 1904, and this Puck cover shows Bryan holding Hearst aloft in a failing effort to reach the presidential nomination. The publisher of the New York Journal and San Francisco Examiner is depicted as a toddler to ridicule his youth (41 years old) and with a toy sword decorated with money signs in reference to the $1.4 million ($28.1 million in 2002 dollars) that he spent in the quest to become the Democratic standard-bearer. The merry-go-round (going in circles) and the Democratic Donkey as a hobbyhorse (a pet project) both emphasize that Bryan is trying and failing for a third time to win (this time by proxy) the party’s presidential nomination, as well as the childishness of the endeavor. The merry-go-round is also related to the common circus metaphor for politics. In reality, Bryan never endorsed Hearst, although much of the publisher’s support came from areas constituting the Great Commoner’s political base.













Website design © 2001-2008 HarpWeek, LLC
All Content © 1998-2008 HarpWeek, LLC
Please submit questions to