In 1884, the Republican Party nominee for President was former Speaker of the House James Blaine. Blaine was the equivalent of today’s Newt Gingrich — known for his lies, corruption, and immorality. His nomination resulted in Republicans’ first post-Civil War loss of the Presidency. To hilight why Blaine shouldn’t become President, Puck magazine’s artists produced twenty-two cartoons that election year — known as the Tattooed-Man series — depicting Blaine tattooed all over his body, with his many sins. They are credited with helping to defeat Blaine.
Above, from the centerspread of the October 8th, 1884 issue of Puck, comes The Olympus of Corruption. — “Apollo Strikes the Lyre and Charms the Gods.”, by cartoonist Bernhard Gillam.
Click on the above cartoon, to view it in much greater detail.
Blaine is shown in the role of Apollo, playing a lyre made of the N.Y. Tribune’s editor — then a Republican propaganda newspaper and twister of facts, equivalent to today’s Fox News. Blaine is playing to “the Gods” — millionaire monolopist robber barons & stock market manipulators — all supporters / owners of the Republican Party. Shown on a throne is Jay Gould, his staff a telegraph pole, and holding lightning bolts labeled “Western Union”, which Gould controlled. Near Gould are fellow monopolists Cyrus Field, William H. Vanderbilt, and Russell Sage.
Below, a revue of the Tattoed Man cartoons posted to SuperI.T.C.H. so far.
Click on any of the below cartoons, to be taken to the post describing that particular cartoon.
Many of the below cartoons, as well as a detailed overview of the Tattooed-Man series, are found in the excellent article One Misdeed Evokes Another: How Political Cartoonists Used “Scandal Intertextuality” Against Presidential Candidate James G. Blaine, by Harlen Makemson of Elon University.
The 1st Blaine Tattooed-Man cartoon, by Bernhard Gillam, April 16th, 1884: The National Dime Museum — Will be Run During the Presidential Campaign.
May 21st, 1884, by Fred Opper: A New Version of the Pied Piper of Hamelin — The Children Refuse to be Charmed.
By Gillam, June 4th, 1884: Phryne Before the Chicago Tribunal.
June 11th, 1884, by Gillam again: The Receiving-Vault of the Republican Politicians Who Defied Public Morality.
By Puck founder, Joseph Keppler, Sr., July 30th, 1884: He Can’t Beat His Own Record.
From September 10th, 1884, by Gillam: The Political Courtney
And, September 17th, 1884, by Gillam: Narcissus; or, The Man Who Was Mashed on Himself.
Finally, in addition to the tattooed-Blaine cartoons, Puck also published plenty of non-tattooed Blaine. Below, by Joseph Keppler, Sr., from October 8th, 1884, is but one example, depicting Blaine as Tantalus, held prisoner by the same sins we see him tattooed with above.
More cartoons in the Tattooed-Man series will be posted here, for this election year.
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