Makemson's research accepted

  Harlen 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 resonate today."

 

 

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