Taft and Bryan Compared


 “Taft To-Morrow”
  Cartoonist:  Louis M. Glackens
  Source:  Puck
  Date:  October 7, 1908

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
In 1908, the two political parties were ideologically closer than they had been in years. The divisive issue of free silver had dead and that of imperialism had waned, Democratic presidential nominee William Jennings Bryan had moderated some of his positions, and Republican presidential nominee William Howard Taft was advocating tariff reform and antitrust enforcement. Nevertheless, the public was treated to a continual back-and-forth on the issues during the post-convention campaign, as depicted in this Puck cartoon of the two candidates on a seesaw.

The long-distance debate began when Taft responded to the Democratic platform in his acceptance speech of July 28, which provoked a rejoinder from Bryan in his acceptance speech of August 12. The point-counterpoint escalated when both men hit the campaign trail in September and October. The most heated exchange of the campaign, however, was not between the two nominees, but between Bryan and President Theodore Roosevelt over the Standard Oil scandal.













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