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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Teddy Roosevelt: Cartoons Magazine Centennial 1912

As we approach the Grand Finale of our political circus, SuperI.T.C.H. strives to keep you up on every twist & turn — from one century ago. Today our focus swings back to former U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt, seeking to return for a third term. He was running against not only the Democrats, but also against his G.O.P. successor, incumbent President W.H. Taft, whom T.R. felt had failed and betrayed the progress he (T.R.) had made while he was President. In the course of this fight, T.R. split the Republican Party in half, forming the new Progressive Party (which is more popularly remembered today as the Bull Moose Party).

Today’s posting comes from both the October & November 1912 issues of Cartoons Magazine.

Click on the above & below pictures, to view the cartoons in detail, and read their captions.

Above, by A. Johnson of the German comic Kladderadatsch sees the Bull Moose Party.

Beneath, a page on the new Bull Moose Party, by Matthew Caine, Barnett, Robert Carter, and Stinson, including one — “Swat the Fly” — that plays on the then annual health campaign (click here), to identify plutocrats (wealthy corporate owners who believe they should rule the country) as “flies to be swatted”, and that T.R. (the rolled newspaper held aloft as a weapon) is the perfect candidate to do the latter.

Above, positive & negative takes on Teddy Roosevelt’s Progressive Party. Art by Bronstrup, Barnett (again), Harry Murphy, and Herbert Johnson.

Beneath, two (comic) shots taken at T.R. The first, by James H. Donahey, shows Roosevelt’s followers crowding into the Ananias Club, which as we’ve shown before was understood at that time to be calling Teddy and those for him, liars. More powerful, by Frank Michael Spangler, is Roosevelt Makes a Short Trip South, referencing how T.R. had betrayed Southern Black Delegates to the G.O.P. Convention, who had walked out to join the Bull Moose Party, only to have Teddy Roosevelt reject them, for fear that being seen having black supporters in the South, would cause the white Southern vote to go to his opponent (click here for a prior related posting on this topic).

Above, pro-T.R. cartoons, from cartoonists at newspapers which were supporting the Progressive Party. Which raises the question (which I can’t answer), that while one might assume that long-standing cartoonists at newspapers tended to agree politically with the paper’s owners (otherwise, they would have either long since left or been fired), where did Republican-leaning cartoonists stand versus their papers/employers, when that Party had split? Anyway, pro-T.R. cartoons above, by Richard Keith Culver, Edgar F. Schilder, Carter, and Hunter.

And beneath, anti-T.R. cartoons, by W.A. Ireland, Camillus Kessler, Murphy, and Clifford K. Berryman. (Note that the top left cartoon shows T.R. coming backstage to the man credited with a large part of Roosevelt’s financing — George Walbridge Perkins.)

Above, yet more anti-T.R. cartoons. (If it seems like there is an imbalance here, especially given that for most of the year, any imbalance would have favored Roosevelt, remember that at this point, he’s got two major parties — and their supporters — gunning for him.) Art by Charles “Doc” Winner, Ernest E. Burtt, Oscar Cesare, and Charles Henry Sykes.

We close out with a page of cartoonists take aim (and it wouldn’t matter what their political bent was for this one), at an amusing aspect of splitting one’s Party in half. It’s (pretty much) the norm that spouses marrying the children of a President, tend to be of the same political party as that President. And not surprising if they themselves, are politically active. Republican President T.R., had a son-in-law — Nicholas Longworth — who was a sitting Republican Congressman from Ohio. And whom did not switch his party affiliation to Progressive, when his much more famous and charismatic Dad-in-Law split apart the party, to lead the greatest third party showing in American history. Do I detect a sitcom here?? Anyway, picturing the situation of the poor sap caught between an indominatable father-in-law, and the job security tied up in his party affiliation, are cartoonists R.D. Handy, Charles Lewis Bartholomew (“Bart”), and Matthew Caine. (Longworth, by the way, lost his bid for re-election in 1912, but he regained his seat two years later, when the Progressive Party had faded.)

Doug Wheeler

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One Response to “Teddy Roosevelt: Cartoons Magazine Centennial 1912”

  1. Super I.T.C.H » Blog Archive » Cartoons Magazine Centennial’s Post-Election 1912 Says:

    [...] Teddy Roosevelt’s Son-in-Law, Nicholas Longworth, pictured post-election by artist Oscar Cesare. Longworth had been a sitting Republican Congressman [...]

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