Makemson's paper, "Anglophobia as Art: Free Trade and Protection in
Grover Cleveland Political Cartoons," has been accepted for presentation
at the 19th Century Press, the Civil War and Free Expression Symposium
in Chattanooga, Tenn., Nov. 1-2.
Makemson said previous research has left the impression that the defining
characteristic of cartooning against Grover Cleveland in the 1884
campaign was a relentless focus on Cleveland's illegitimate child
scandal. His research demonstrates that the graphic discourse gave
a much broader argument for why a Cleveland presidency would be damaging
to the country.
A heavy focus by cartoonists on the tariff issue echoed GOP charges
that free trade would put American laborers out of work, in turn creating
a hardship for their families. In pro-Republican cartoons, Cleveland
was depicted not only undermining the moral fabric of the American
family but taking food off its table.
"My approach is less interested in the cartoonists and the politicans,"
Makemson said, "and more interested in what symbols were being
used and how they may have been interpreted by those in the culture.
I'm particularly interested in the Gilded Age because many of the
issues of the period - immigration, free trade, concern over an erosion
of morals, the perceived damaging influence of visual media - still