The Dollar or the Man # 3: Ladies and gentlemen: Stick to the trusts. They’re your only true friends …
In 1900, New York Journal political cartoonist Homer Davenport published a collection of his work titled The Dollar or the Man? The Issue of To Day. The cartoons focused on themes of government corruption and the threat that corporate power posed to America. These themes are with us today and will influence many of the votes cast in next week’s mid-term elections.
Davenport’s cartoons mark the beginning of the Progressive Era, a time when many believed that corporations sought to overthrow the government.
In the cartoon above, Davenport shows Republican operative Mark Hanna as the protector of the trusts. He pontificates on their altruistic benevolence as one of the trusts crouches in hiding, club in hand..
The screen is decorated with a cornucopia, a traditional symbol of prosperity, but in place of the customary fruit, flowers and grain, coins spill out. In folklore, the cornucopia was filled with whatever the owner desired. In this cartoon, it is placed on a device of concealment shared by Hanna and the Trust.
The overweight Hanna addresses an emaciated crowd with threadbare clothes as a vision of death hovers above them.
— David Donihue, GreatCaricatures.com