The National Party Conventions


 untitled [The Mammoth Chameleon]
  Cartoonist:  Charles Jay Budd
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   August 10, 1912, p. 1

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
This cover of Harper’s Weekly caricatures a hissing Theodore Roosevelt as a “Mammoth Chameleon,” after the lizard known for its ability to change skin color. When he lost the Republican presidential nomination to William Howard Taft in June, Roosevelt changed his political “color” (i.e., affiliation) by establishing the Progressive Party. Its national convention, which in early August nominated Roosevelt for president, is pictured here as a zoo. The billboard announces that Africa, the home to most species of chameleons, is not the provenance for this uniquely American type. The log on which the chameleon-candidate sits refers to an African proverb he adopted while president, “Speak softly and carry a big stick and you will go far.” The cartoon may have reminded viewers that after leaving the presidency in March 1909, Roosevelt traveled on a hunting and scientific expedition in Africa.













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