Saturday, October 22, 2016

Campaign 1916

As we draw tantalizingly closer to the end of the 2016 campaign, Stumpback Saturday takes a look over its shoulder at editorial cartoons of the issues of the final weeks of the presidential election of 1916.
"Troubles of a Good Natured Man" by Luther Bradley in Chicago Daily News, 1916
Luther Bradley's Woodrow Wilson seems nonplussed by pups bearing his own foreign policy slogans of Watchful Waiting and Too Proud to Fight, here joined by his decision to stay out of arbitrating the railroad workers strike.

The Wilson campaign slogan that lived on in popular memory was "He kept us out of war," which inspired Republican John Darling to draw the following cartoon. Uncle Sam smarts under a barrage of bricks and planks representing national humiliation, the Lusitania, Mexican insolence, British naval blockade and opening of U.S. mails, 1914 hard times, Democratic extravagance, and "After the War?"
"He Kept Us Out of War" by John "Ding" Darling in Des Moines Register, 1916
I like a couple of John McCutcheon cartoons from late October. In the first, he flips "He kept us out of war" on its head; and indeed, as the Zimmerman telegram would show, the German foreign office would have been perfectly happy to keep us out of their war, too.
"He's Curious to Know" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, October 20, 1916
In the second, McCutcheon grudgingly acknowledges Wilson's claim to prosperity and peace (signed "World War" and "Watchful Waiting" in reference to the president's initials), but begs to attribute problems of national prestige, Mexico, pork, patriotism and paper preparedness to him as well.
"The Ones He Exhibits" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, October 24, 1916
At the Duluth Evening Herald, where they were confidently predicting a landslide victory for Wilson, C.F. Naughton, repeating a frequent image in Democratic cartoons, sees Hughes haunted by Wilson's question "What would you have done?" regarding American response to the war in Europe.
"The Republican Tam O'Shanter" by C.F. Naughton for Duluth Evening Herald, October 23, 1916
The Republicans at the New York Evening Sun weren't fazed by that question at all.

"He Never Had to Ask That" by Robert Carter in New York Evening Sun, 1916
Up the street at the New York World, Rollin Kirby depicts, for the umpteenth time, Hughes as a patsy for the German Kaiser. Hughes had given up a seat on the Supreme Court to accept the Republican nomination, so Kirby draws his replacement robe as a patchwork quilt of former presidents Taft and Roosevelt, the Republican old guard, Wall Street, jingoism, pacifism, women's suffrage, and hyphenated Americans (especially German-Americans).
"In Place of the Ermine" by Rollin Kirby in New York World, 1916
In fact, Hughes proclaimed himself neutral regarding whether to support Europe's Allied or Central Powers. For that matter, Wilson actively pursued the German vote; German-speaking surrogates promoted the incumbent president to German-American audiences. In the end, German-Americans did not vote as a bloc, and were not a significant factor in the election's outcome.
"The Missing Link" by Wm. C. Morris for Harpers Weekly Independent, November 6, 1916
Sid Greene's summary of the campaign probably resonates as strongly today as it did a century ago.
"You Poor Fish" by Sidney J. Greene for New York Telegram, October 28, 1916
The label on the fish reads, "Catostomus commersonmii  in plain English, this means sucker."

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