The Democratic Nomination


 “The Peerless Leader”
  Cartoonist:  William Allen Rogers
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   January 11, 1908, p. 3

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

Click to see a large version of this cartoon

Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
This cartoon shows the Democratic Donkey skittishly resisting the pull of William Jennings Bryan. The presidential candidate is saddled with the heavy burden of his political positions, his talkative nature, and President Theodore Roosevelt’s possible try for a third term (the Teddy bear). For cartoonist Rogers, Bryan’s campaign for his third nomination (1896, 1900, and 1908) is an uphill struggle leading to “The Place of Departed Booms.”

In fact, Bryan galloped to the nomination on the back of strong party support. While he was on a world tour in early 1906, several Democratic state conventions endorsed his nomination two years in advance. When he returned to the United States in late August 1906, Democratic politicians from across the country gathered at a reception in New York City to hail him as a conquering hero. Over the next year and a half, he continued speaking on public issues and solidifying his political base. At the Democratic National Convention in July 1908, Bryan easily won a first-ballot nomination with only scattered votes for favorite-son candidates.













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