Sunday, August 15, 2010

More 1900 Cartoons of R.C. Bowman

This is part 2 of my series retrieving the editorial cartoons drawn by R.C. Bowman for the Minneapolis Tribune in 1900.
(They get real mad at Teddy for getting "solid" with the Dakota girls.)

There are no cartoons of the incumbent President, William McKinley, in the Meanderings of Willie and Little Steve series of cartoons. McKinley considered it unseemly for a president to campaign for his own reelection, so that put the campaign in the hands of surrogates such as Vice Presidential candidate Teddy Roosevelt.

(That nasty Croker boy teaches Willie how to smoke.)

An issue included in each of these cartoons is the Ice Trust scandal which sunk New York Mayor Robert Van Wyck that year. It was revealed that the American Ice Company, having secured a monopoly over the supply of ice to New York City, planned to double the price, and that the mayor owned $680,000 in American Ice stock which he had not paid for. Teddy Roosevelt, as Governor of the state of New York, launched the investigation of the scandal. It didn't really have much to do with Bryan or Stevenson, save that NYC's Tammany Hall was a major force in Democratic Party politics. The tiger was the conventional cartoon representation of Tammany Hall.

(It looks like they are going to get caught in an awful storm.)

By now, it should be pretty obvious that Bowman's and the Tribune's sympathies lay with the Republicans. That said, the Bryan campaign was pretty hopeless from the start. McKinley had been elected in 1896 during a severe recession and presided over a robust recovery; the U.S. won a relatively easy victory in the Spanish-American war; and the discovery of gold in Alaska, the Yukon, and South Africa greatly expanded the world's supply of the precious metal (rendering moot Bryan's signature issue from 1896 of getting the U.S. off the gold standard.)

(The storm has passed, and thus endeth the second battle.)

Coming soon: Big Trouble in Big China.

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