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Road to the White House 1884 - 1896: Puck and Judge

Between 1884 and 1896, Grover Cleveland was either running for President and winning, running as the incumbent and losing, or running and winning a second, non-consecutive term. In 1884, he defeated James G. Blaine. The next two presidential election cycles Cleveland ran against Benjamin Harrison; he would lose in 1888 and win a second, non-consecutive term in 1892. Joseph Keppler as Puck publisher, as well as one of its artists, had views on all four presidential election campaigns: 1884-1896
Puck artists:

Right: Louis Dalrymple: Cleveland as Honest Sailboat February 2, 1887.
Looking ahead to the presidential campaign of 1888, incumbent Cleveland is contrasted to James G. Blaine, who lost the 1884 election to Cleveland, and Henry George, the economic theorist who believed poverty could be eradicated. Blaine's ship is sailed by Whitelaw Reid, an editor of the New YorkTribune. In fact, it would be Benjamin Harrison, and not Blaine who would run and win in 1888; Reid would sail as Harrison's Republican vice presidential candidate in 1892 (and both would lose).

Left: Louis Dalrymple anti-Harrison Chicago World's Fair Tower c. 1892.
Caption: "Puck contributes an Eiffel Tower and a few other exhibits to the proposed World's Fair."
Puck had been invited to participate as an exhibitor in the Chicago World's Fair of 1893. The tower in this illustration is the "Awful Tower," suggestive in name and form of the Eiffel Tower, which at this point had only recently been completed in Paris (1889). It is built on 'boodle,' a synonym for the rewards of bribe taking and corruption in public office. At the top, Benjamin Harrison holds his grandfather's hat, the symbol Keppler used to imply that Harrison did not measure up to his heroic grandfather, President William Henry Harrison. Other public figures below Harrison include members of his Administration: James G. Blaine, Secretary of State; John Wanamaker, Postmaster General, Redfield Proctor, Secretary of War, and Tanner, who apparently had connections to the Pension Bureau. Surrounding the tower are (upper left, top to bottom): boxer John L. Sullivan; another mention of Tanner and the Pension Bureau scandal; an homage to Thomas Nast's famous 'What Are You Going to Do About It?' Tiger or the Lady cartoon in Harper's , and a 'Social Exhibit from Chicago' with two armed thugs in wait behind a door marked Irish Debating Society. From upper right, top to bottom: a citizen being rolled flat through a 'High Protection Mill'; a 'Wonderful System of Popular Suffrage' corrupted by 'boodle'; a 'Great American Scheme for Encouraging Official Merit (firing the 'good' officials), and finally, a 'Humane System of Electrical Execution'.

Opper and Keppler: McKinley's overloaded tugboat June 3, 1896

Judge artists:

Victor Gillam Tammany grave digger July 2, 1892
Victor Gillam other campaign images 1892-1896
Bernard Gillam Labor questions August 10, 1892

Left: Grant Hamilton, Media out of Anti-Harrison Powder,July 2, 1892.
The empty barrels are marked 'Free Trade Powder, 1888,' which is the last time the newspaper publishers pictured here were able to take aim at candidate-for-President Benjamin Harrison. Now he is the incumbent, which is why the dilapidated gun is aimed at the White House. Puck's Keppler is not among the powderless gun crew of newspaper publishers shown here, but philosopically, he belongs with Pulitzer (standing at rear) and Charles Dana (forefront). Other papers and publishers shown include J. W. Scott (Chicago Herald) and McLean (Cincinnati Enquirer).


Right: Grant Hamilton, Free Trade Danger c. 1896

As with the empty Free Trade powder barrels he drew for the 1892 Judge cover above, Hamilton continues to caution against the principle. Grover Cleveland the Democratic incumbent has come to the end of a dangerous trail, where one false step will lead to 'chaos,' Hamilton suggests.

Grant Hamilton Post-election Democratic defeat December 12, 1896. The election of McKinley and the Republicans is the end for the Tammany-type 'kids.' See also a detail of the same image and the section on Tammany images in Puck and Judge.