The National Campaign


 “Mr. Taft Makes the First Drive”
  Cartoonist:  Edward Windsor Kemble
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   August 10, 1912, pp. 14-15

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
Following completion of the three major-party political conventions, this Harper’s Weekly cartoon marks the beginning of the national campaign by showing the presidential nominees teeing off to see who wins the game for the White House. Incumbent William Howard Taft hits the first drive, having won the Republican nomination in June. Waiting for his turn is Democrat Woodrow Wilson, who undoubtedly smiles because the split of the Republican Party makes his victory more likely. Carrying a big stick as he angrily lumbers toward the pair is Progressive Party nominee Theodore Roosevelt. The caddies are (left-right): William A. McAdoo, Wilson's campaign manager; possibly William Barnes Jr., chairman of the New York Republican Party; and George W. Perkins, co-chairman of the Progressive National Committee.

Although sports analogies of political campaigns were common in cartoons, especially of boxing and horseracing, the choice of golf was novel. The sport finally took hold in the United States in the 1880s, and grew in popularity over the ensuing decades. One sports historian has labeled the first two decades of the twentieth century the “great years” for golf. An avid sportsman, Taft was the first president to play golf while in office, and his well-publicized participation gave the game new visibility. The number of players on public golf courses doubled during his administration.













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