The National Party Conventions


 “The Revival of an Ancient Skin Game”
  Cartoonist:  Udo J. Keppler
  Source:  Puck
  Date:  July 17, 1912

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

Click to see a large version of this cartoon

Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
This Puck cartoon uses the biblical analogy of twins Jacob and Esau to allege that William Howard Taft won the Republican presidential nomination over Theodore Roosevelt by trickery. The Republican National Committee and the Credentials Committee at the convention awarded 235 of 254 contested delegates to Taft, provoking Roosevelt to bolt the party and run under the Progressive Party banner. In Genesis, the older brother, Esau, sold his birthright to his younger brother, Jacob, for a bowl of soup. When their mother, Rebekah, learned that her elderly, near-blind husband, Isaac, planned to bless the older brother, she told Jacob to pose as the hairy Esau by wearing an animal skin. The term “skin game” in the cartoon caption is slang for a swindle. The Republican Elephant blesses Taft/Jacob, who wears Roosevelt’s delegate furs and mantle of “Progressivism.” Senator Elihu Root of New York, appearing as Rebekah, looks in alarm at the approaching figure of Roosevelt/Esau, who has captured “Popularity.” In the background are Taft supporters (left-right): Senator Boies Penrose of Pennsylvania; William Barnes Jr., chairman of the New York Republican Party; and, Vice President James Sherman.

The Esau-Jacob analogy was used in 1908 by Harper’s Weekly cartoonist William Allen Rogers to depict Roosevelt’s willing participation in the blessing of Taft by Uncle Sam.













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