“He Made It All By Himself”

August 11, 1900

William A. Rogers

“He Made It All By Himself”

Children, Symbolic; Colonialism/Imperialism; Presidential Elections 1900; Symbols, American Eagle; Symbols, Democratic Donkey; Symbols, Populist Ostrich; Symbols, Tammany Tiger; Symbols, Uncle Sam; U.S. Economic Policy, Money Question;

Bryan, William Jennings;

No 'Places' indexed for this cartoon.

No caption

In 1900, the Democratic National Convention, meeting in Kansas City, renominated William Jennings Bryan, its standard-bearer in 1896, for president of the United States.  In this cartoon, Bryan appears as an impish boy, hammer in hand, who has cobbled together the Democratic Donkey, the Tammany Tiger, and the Populist Ostrich into "The fierce DEMOPOPTAM from Kansas City.  

The strange, hybrid creature grasps the crown of "imperialism" upside-down in its claws, symbolizing the candidate's vocal opposition to an expansionist foreign policy.  The large, broken wheel--"bungo dollar"--and the numbers "16" and "1" on Bryan's pants indicate his continued support of inflationary "free silver" even though by 1900 most politicians accepted the gold standard.  Meanwhile, a dapper Uncle Sam and the American Eagle on his walking stick both smirk at Bryan and his malformed campaign contraption.

In November 1900, Bryan's defeat was even greater than it had been four years before when he lost to William McKinley, 271-176 in the Electoral College and 51-47% in the popular vote.  In 1900, Bryan's vote totals were down in Montana, Colorado, and Nevada, while he lost the Plains states of Nebraska, South Dakota, and Kansas, along with the Western states of Wyoming and Utah.  President McKinley was reelected with a margin of 292-155 in the Electoral College and 52-46% in the popular vote.  

The victory made McKinley the first president to win a second consecutive term since Ulysses S. Grant in 1872.  In the 1900 elections, Republicans also consolidated their takeover of both houses of Congress in 1896, allowing the party to dominate national politics until the onset of the Great Depression.

For more information on the William Jennings Bryan and his presidential nomination in 1900, see the W. A. Rogers cartoon from early July 1900.

Robert C. Kennedy

“He Made It All By Himself”
June 17, 2024

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