Fist Of History

Posts Tagged ‘1892’

Presidential Election of 1892 and the People’s Party

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Populist-logoIt is 2015 and with several presidential candidates for the 2016 campaign announcing their intentions already in April, it is time to begin my irregular series of short articles this election season to outline moments in the 19th and 20th century when the United States was rocked by third party and independent candidates.  This is to show people that the modern view of politics in the United States, where two parties dominate the system and independent action cannot have any measurable impact, is inaccurate.  Third party political organizations have dominated local elections and been a presence with force in national politics repeatedly in United States history.  Furthermore history is replete with oddballs, independents, and mavericks that successfully tweaked the system.  My main goal in writing this irregular series is to provide a counter point to the idea that often circulates in social media that “a viable third party is needed but impossible to create/vote for/support because Awful Horrible Thing will happen instead.”  My only point in response to that is your predecessors in the past faced the same problem, often in worse political systems, and yet still managed to kick back.


Meet James Weaver, third party Presidential Candidate in the 1892 election and nominated by the People’s Party.  The People’s Party was a progressive leftist political party that appeared in the late 1880s from an alliance of southern farmers with midwestern farmers who combined around the idea that gold-backed currency was bad, big business even worse, and tariff protection for industry the devil’s work.  They also rallied behind some other wacky ideas, like:  progressive income tax, the eight hour work day, the direct election of United States Senators, civil service reform, as well as nationalizing the telegraph industry and the railroads, and breaking up large banks.

Some of these crazy ideas you might recognize as now being the law of the land, and others as being concepts being bandied around today by modern leftist progressives.  (Although the idea of nationalizing the transportation industries appears to have fallen in favor in the 21st century, probably due in part to how cheap shipping of goods and personal travel are these days compared to the past.)  Weaver ended up doing surprisingly well in the election, capturing 8.5% of the popular vote, 22 electoral votes, and carrying five states in the election.  He was stomped by the other candidates solidly, but his turnout showed a strong sentiment against the viewpoints of the Democrats who gained an unexpected win in this election cycle.


In 1896 and 1900 the Democrats quietly began to absorb some of the platform goals of the People’s Party which, in turn, backed the nomination of William Jennings Bryan for President in 1896.  (Pictured above looking sexy mid-speech at 36 years of age.)

The People’s Party faded after the 1896 election but managed to place Representatives into national office successfully until 1902.  A total of 39 Representatives, 6 Senators, and 11 governors during its period of power served under the banner of the People’s Party.

Sources:  Wikipedia entries on the People’s Party, the United States Presidential Election of 1892, and James B. Weaver

Old Ads and Cartoons Friday

Friday, October 3rd, 2014


Source:  Life Magazine, 1902


Source:  Life Magazine, 1902


Source:  Life Magazine, 1902

Note – one of my sample advertisements that reflect the casual racism of the times


Source:  Life Magazine, 1901

Note – another racist cartoon that is also damn weird


Source:  Life Magazine, 1892


Source:  Life Magazine 1892

Note – I welcome any thoughts on what “special South American plant” this is

Friday Old Comics and Old Ads

Saturday, September 20th, 2014


Source:  Life Magazine, 1902

Note – I’m not quite sure what this means


Source:  Life Magazine, 1902


Source:  Life Magazine, 1892


Source:  Life Magazine, 1902


Source:  Life Magazine, 1896

Note – I wonder how dating through services like this actually worked…


Source:  Life Magazine, 1893

Note – there is A LOT going on in this cartoon that I don’t understand – I believe it is a knock at contemporary theater and…the Irish?

Old Cartoons and Old Ads Friday

Friday, August 15th, 2014


Source:  Life Magazine, 1892

Note – nothing like a bit of jingoism to sell products


Source:  Life Magazine, 1887

Note – the method of the pitch may change but the heart of the sell remains the same


Source:  Life Magazine, 1901

Note – I shall investigate the story of this shoe riot as the ad alludes, however note jingoism again and a lovely stereotypical image of a German


Source:  Life Magazine, 1893

Note – indeed it was used to smooth down silk hats by middle class individuals who wanted to look styling but may have lacked the necessary domestic help.  Steampunk enthusiasts might want to bring these back.


Source:  Life Magazine, 1892

Note – yes the past was really horrible at times

Friday Old Comics and Old Ads

Friday, August 8th, 2014


Source:  Life Magazine, 1890

Note – because any of you wimpy nonathletic types wouldn’t be able to appreciate the wonder of spicy plaster of paris


Source:  Life Magazine, 1883

Note – I’m not sure but if I’m right and “Lithia” covers lithium it would make a post drinking bout happy for anybody


Source:  Life Magazine, 1892


Source:  Life Magazine, 1892

Note for both cartoons – the past is hilarious because it was so horrifying sometimes


Source:  Life Magazine, 1903

Note – a reference to the impending 1904 Presidential election – the lady is the United States and the gentleman are various potential Democratic candidates.  Teddy was a vigorous President.


Source:  Life Magazine, 1903

Note – not only do I like the slogan, “Boss of the Road” but also this represents a bit of a gem for me to find, it ran in the early July 1903 edition of Life Magazine.  Henry Ford incorporated the Ford Motor Company in June 1903.  It is possible this is one of the first automobile ads they ever ran.  If you note the address, 696 Mack Avenue, it was Ford’s first factory for that company and featured small skilled artisan craftsmanship of cars.

Old Cartoons and Ads

Friday, July 18th, 2014


Source:  Life Magazine, 1891


Source:  Life Magazine, 1901

Note – when I think of Extract of Beef I always think of Society Girls, it is a natural association


Source:  Life Magazine, 1893


Source:  Life Magazine, 1901

Note I like how they are using a pretty girl posing with a gun to sell an outdoors magazine, some things never change


Source:  Life Magazine, 1887

Note – “Galvano Electic” is a trendy brand-type name for galvanic electricity, i.e. electric current  (U.S. patent application 700783 as proof)


Source:  Life Magazine, 1883


Source:  Life Magazine, 1892

Note – I believe that is an engraving of President Garfield, assassinated in 1881 and a martyr for the nation.  It takes guts to use a martyred president to help hock your tea

Friday Cartoons and Ads

Friday, June 20th, 2014


Source:  Life Magazine, 1902


Source:  Life Magazine, 1900

Note – I still have no idea how this actually tasted nor have I found a recipe – but how do you “deliciously season” a cold beef drink?


Source:  Life Magazine, 1901


Source:  Life Magazine, 1892

Note – Gentleman, have you thought enough about your “manly purity” today?


Source:  Life Magazine, 1892


Source:  Life Magazine, 1900

Unfortunately I am not enough of an expert on 1900s America to speak to each individual in the image above, however I can speak to some of the reasons for the particular bill headings.  William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic Presidential candidate in 1900, ran on a platform very similar to his more successful 1896 bid for the Presidency, specifically on the idea of a bi-metal economy – the free coining of silver dollars and expanding the money supply, and a new attack on McKinley over his “imperialism” in the war on Spain and the on-going difficulties the United States was facing with the Philippine-American War.  Bryan did not carry the election but, as you can see from the above cartoon, some felt that had he gotten into office insanity in his policies would have followed.  (I find the “90% Tariff on Bachelors” and the “Unlimited Zinc Dollars” ideas particularly adorable.)

In case you were wondering the reason Bryan is depicted with his hand in the air is probably because he is being drawn mid-declarative oration – Bryan was famous for his skills as a passionate orator.


Of course it did help that he also wasn’t a particularly bad looking individual as well as a fascinating orator by all accounts.

Friday – Cartoons and Ads

Friday, May 16th, 2014


Source:  Life Magazine, 1900


Source:  Life Magazine, 1896

It still amazes me just how controversial bloomers were in the 1890s and 1900s


Source:  Life Magazine, 1900

Another fun poke by the U.S. at its British cousins troubles in South Africa


Source:  Life Magazine, 1883


Source:  Life Magazine, 1892

We need more puns in advertising today


Source:  Life Magazine, 1891


Source:  Life Magazine, 1892

I really want to know how much $1.00 got you in cocaine


Cartoon and Old Ad Friday

Friday, April 11th, 2014


Title:  The Magician

Source:  Life Magazine, 1902


Source:  Life Magazine, 1890


Source:  Life Magazine, 1892


Source:  Life Magazine, 1893


Source:  Life Magazine, 1893

The above poem is in reference to the Bimetalism Crisis of the 1890s and refers to the ambitions of farmers and western miners that the use of more freely coined silver money would allow debts taken on under tighter gold money to be paid back more cheaply.

Comic and Ads Friday – 03/21/14

Friday, March 21st, 2014

It’s time for another installment of old cartoons and old ads!

Cartoon_Baby_Hippo_1893Source: Life Magazine, 1893


Source:  Life Magazine, 1900


Source:  Life Magazine, 1892.

(Bonus points for high sexism)


Source:  Life Magazine, 1892

(Who doesn’t love a hotel that advertises being free of malaria)


Source:  Life Magazine

(No, I don’t know what this is about either)