Saturday, November 5, 2016

And the Winner Was...

So, are you looking forward to having the 2016 election finally over with on Tuesday? Travel back in time with Spinback Saturday, then, to the thrilling conclusion of the 1916 presidential election.

I'll start with a pre-election cartoon by Luther Bradley highlighting Wilson's Benghazi; at this point in 1916, Bradley was soon to shuffle off his mortal coil, so this may be my last opportunity to showcase his work.
"The Silent Vote" by Luther Bradley for Chicago Daily News, November, 1916
On Tuesday, November 7, Americans cast their ballots in the last presidential election in which women in some states were denied the vote. (I don't think that's a deliberate topic of Bradley's cartoon, but it's worth mentioning anyway.) The nation awoke on the Day After Election Day 1916 to headlines like this:

Editorial cartoonists, in some cases putting aside their political differences, greeted Charles Evans Hughes as the new president of the United States.
"The New Pilot" by Harry Murphy for Chicago Examiner, November 8, 1916
Some cartoonists were more enthusiastic about the Republican victory than others. At the Philadelphia Inquirer, Frederick Morgan drew at least three editorial cartoons crowing about Wilson's defeat for Wednesday's newspaper. Here are two of them, and yes, that is the actual cartoon caption printed in the Inquirer for posterity.
"The Political Ass Barrel" by Fred Morgan for Philadelphia Inquirer, November 8, 1916
"The End of a Perfect Day" by Fred Morgan for Philadelphia Inquirer, November 8, 1916
If you know anything about American history, you might be wondering why you don't remember having been taught anything in school about the Hughes administration. Well, don't blame a faulty education system. As the sun came up on Wednesday morning, Charles Evans Hughes was still several electoral votes shy of the 266 needed to win. California, Minnesota, West Virginia, Indiana and New Hampshire, with a combined 52 electoral votes, were too close to call; less than a percentage point separated Wilson's and Hughes's vote tallies in each of those states.
"Another Doubtful State—Of Mind" by John McCutcheon for Chicago Tribune, November 9, 1916
With no clear winner, what, then, was a newspaper cartoonist to do?

Fred Morgan must have had cramps in his drawing hand or run out of ink, because his pen fell silent for the next few days. The New York Evening Post reran Monday's cartoon by Oscar Cesare on Thursday, but with a new and improved caption (originally "The Anxious Seat").
"Watchful Waiting" by Oscar Cesare for New York Evening Post, November 9, 1916
By the end of the day on Thursday, California finally appeared likely to cast its 13 electoral votes for Wilson — enough to put the incumbent president over the top. Wilson's margin of victory in California was only 3,800 votes out of a million.

There is a story that when a reporter tried to telephone Hughes on Wednesday morning to get his reaction to the election returns, the person who answered the phone told the reporter that "the president is asleep."
"Newspaper Slogan" by Nelson Harding for Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 8, 1916
The reporter snapped back, "When he wakes up, tell him he isn't the president."
"Some Mix-Up" by Sidney Greene for New York Evening Telegram, November 10, 1916
The outcome in Minnesota was still in doubt when the Duluth Evening Herald ran C.F. Naughton's congratulatory cartoon on its front page; its 12 electoral votes would go in vain to Hughes.
"Good Work, Woodrow. Keep It Up" by C.F. Naughton for Duluth Evening Herald, November 10, 1916

Wilson's election having been settled by the end of the week, Mr. Hughes nevertheless did not accept the results until November 22.
"Judicial Temperament" by H.S. Smith for The Masses, January, 1917.

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