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I thought it would be an interesting look into our nation’s political cartoon history if, this month, I took a look at a different editorial cartoon each day that won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning. Do note that we’re talking basically 1922-1967 here, as since then, the Committee has almost always awarded cartoonists generally for their work, not for an exemplary single cartoon. So in many ways, this is a snapshot of American politics (for better or for worse) over a forty-five year period. Here is an archive of the cartoons featured thus far.
Today we look at Rollin Kirby’s 1929 award-winning cartoon.
I featured Rollin Kirby’s second Pulitzer Prize winning cartoon earlier (click here to see it), and today, one day after looking at the third of Edmund Duffy’s three Pulitzer Prize winning cartoons we also see the third of Kirby’s three Pulitzer Prize winning cartoons.
The history behind this piece is absolutely fascinating. It came out soon before the 1928 United States Presidential Election, and it is entitled “Tammany!”
As you all should know by now, the legendary 19th Century political cartoonist, Thomas Nast, gained the most acclaim for his work tackling “Tammany Hall,” the famous corrupt Democratic political party in New York City.
Here, a few decades later, Kirby is pointing out the irony of the Republicans who still decry the problems of Tammany while they, themselves, are involved in all sorts of scandals and crimes, which Kirby dutifully depicts in the background.
The most fascinating thing about all of this is that as powerful of this cartoon was, and as perhaps clear of a problem this was for the Republicans, they also won the Presidential election that year in a dramatic landslide victory.
And what was one of the major reasons they won? What could the Democrats have done to warrant more hatred than a corrupt political party?
They ran a Catholic who was against Prohibition.
How dare they!
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