Ridiculing the Anti-Imperialist League's Opposition to the Conquest of the Philippines


"Columbia's Easter Bonnet" (1901) [detail]
[See very large version [2466 px 7.9 MB]]

The Library of Congress has a collection of cartoons from the time of the Spanish-American War (1898-99) which opposed the Anti-Imperialist Leagues' attempts to halt American colonial expansion in the Caribbean and the Pacific. [Source: <http://www.loc.gov/pictures/>] 

The cartoons were published in the satirical magazine "Puck" (1871-1918) founded by Joseph Keppler in St. Louis but which later moved to New York city. Generally, it supported the so-called "Bourbon Democrats" associated with Grover Cleveland (elected President 1884, 1888, 1892) and could be described as the classical liberal branch of the Democratic Party, supporting laissez-faire economic policies and the gold standard and opposing tariffs and overseas expansion and imperialism. Unfortunately Puck magazine broke with the Bourbon Democrats over the question of American expansion during the Spanish-American War and published many pro-expansion cartoons between 1898 and 1905. The anti-imperialist cause was taken up by a group of older politicians and intellectuals who saw expansionism as a violation of the principles of the American Constitution and individual liberty. The formation of the Anti-Imperialist League in June 1898 brought together individuals such as the following: Charles Francis Adams, Jr., Jane Addams, Edward Atkinson, Ambrose Bierce, George S. Boutwell, Andrew Carnegie, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Grover Cleveland, John Dewey, Edwin Lawrence Godkin, William Dean Howells, Henry James, William James, David Starr Jordan, Carl Schurz, Moorfield Storey, William Graham Sumner, and Oswald Garrison Villard. Puck magazine singled out Edward Atkinson, Edwin Lawrence Godkin, Carl Schurz, and Grover Cleveland for particular attention.

Some political background: the Spanish-American War began on 25 April, 1898 when President McKinley ordered an attack on Spanish forces in Cuba to assist the Cuban independence movement, followed by the seizure of the Philippines in May; the Anti-Imperialist League was founded on 15 June, 1898 to oppose the annexation of the Philippines; the Philippine War of Independence was fought against American occupation between 1899 and 1902; Emilio Aguinaldo was the president of the Philippines independence movement; the American presidential election of 1900 was contested by the sitting Republican President William McKinley and the Democratic challenger William Jennings Bryan, which McKinley won with 51.6% of the vote; the Anti-Imperialist League was split over the 1900 presidential election with one group favouring the anti-imperialist (but anti-gold standard) Bryan and others supporting a third party candidate; the Anti-Imperialist League was also split over US entry into WW1 and finally was dissolved in 1921.

Some key members of the Anti-Imperialist League:


Edward Atkinson (1827-1905)


Ambrose Bierce (1842-1913?)


Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919)


Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) (1835-1910)


Grover Cleveland (1837-1908)


Edwin Godkin (1831-1902)


Carl Schurz (1829-1906)


William Graham Sumner (1840-1910)


Oswald Garrison Villard (1872-1949) 

The US Presidential campaign of 1900 pitted the Democratic Party's William Jennings Bryan and VP nominee Adlai Stevenson against sitting Republican President William McKinley and VP Theodore Roosevelt.

Campaign poster: W.J. Bryan "The Issue - 1900. Liberty. Justice. Humanity." [Equal Rights to ALL. Special Privileges to None.]

Campaign poster: “The Administration's Promises have been kept." and "The American Flag Has Not Been Planted In Foreign Soil To Acquire More Territory But For Humanity’s Sake”. William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt; the left hand side has the title "1896" and depicts a closed factory with the caption “Gone Democratic”; then a “A Run On The Bank”; at the bottom is a depiction of starving prisoners with the caption “Spanish Rule In Cuba.” The right hand side has the title “1900” below which is an illustration of smokestacks, steamships and locomotives with the caption “Gone Republican”; then a “A Run To The Bank”; and at the bottom a teacher in a “Public School” and farmers in the field captioned “American Rule In Cuba.”



I have selected about 20 cartoons from Puck magazine spanning the years 1898-1902 to display here in chronological order of publication. The description and other information about each image comes from the LoC website [our tax dollars hard at work!]. First I have some details from the cartoons of the caricatures of leading members of the Anti-Imperialist League. Then follows the full cartoons.

A haughty President Aguinaldo accepting the surrender of the Americans.

Atkinson dressed as a Filipino peasant.

Atkinson and Godkin vainly trying to hold back a giant American soldier.

Atkinson, Godkin and Schurz walking away from Washington having been defeated in the election.

A statue of Jefferson proclaiming him to be the father of American expansionism.

Godkin as an old woman attempting to pull down a statue of the administration.

Schurz as an old woman attempting to pull down a statue of the administration.

Another depiction of Godkin as an old woman (holding the NY Evening Post).

Schurz offering Uncle Sam a spoonful of "Anti-Expansion Policy" medicine.

Schurz vainly trying to blow out the fire of imperialism which W.J. Bryan is fanning into flames with some bellows.

Schurz drowning in the quicksand of pro-empire public opinion.

Godkin as a "silly fly" caught in the spider's web spun by W.J. Bryan.

Schurz as a "silly fly" caught in the spider's web spun by W.J. Bryan.

The complete cartoons from Puck.


[Larger version of the file]

"Who will haul it down?"by Louis Dalrymple. (1899 January 11). Print shows President William McKinley standing on a road leading to the White House at the end of the road, in the background; he is delivering a speech, with a group of newspaper editors and congressmen, to the left and right, who have broken into small groups, talking amongst themselves. In the right foreground, William Jennings Bryan is inflating his "Anti-Annexation Issue for 1900". American flags are on islands beyond the White House, the flags and/or islands are labeled "Porto Rico, Ladrone Islds., Cuba, Hawaii, [and] Philippine Islds." At McKinley's feet is an excerpt from his "Speech at Banquet of Board of Trade and Associated Citizens" in Savannah, December 17th 1898.


[Larger version of the file]

"The bugaboo of the anti-expansionist" by Udo Keppler. (1899 January 18). Print shows President William McKinley riding on an elephant driven by Marcus A. Hanna and carrying Russell A. Alger, Nelson Dingley, William R. Day, and William T. Sampson. A second elephant follows, and a group of men that includes "Nelson A. Miles, Theodore Roosevelt, Joseph Wheeler, Fitzhugh Lee, Henry C. Lodge, William R. Shafter, Winfield S. Schley, John T. Morgan, Cushman K. Davis, George Dewey, and others, march alongside under the standard "Imperialism for Ever". A group of disgruntled men sit on the roadside, watching the procession. 


[Larger version of the file]

"Our busy old women" by J.S. Pughe. (1899 March 22). Print shows a large monument constructed "A.D. 1898" showing statues of President William McKinley labeled "Administration", General William R. Shafter labeled "Army", and Admiral George Dewey labeled "Navy", and a plaque that states "To Commemorate the Spanish-American War which has raised the United States Army and Navy to a proud position not only in the eyes of Americans but in the eyes of the World"; also, a gang of "Old Women" with ropes trying to pull down the statues. Among the identified women are "Schurz, Boutelle, Hoar, N.Y. World [Pulitzer], Cockran, Tillman, Caffery, Gorman, Vest, Jones, Hale, Bryan, Godkin [turning a crank for the] Evening Post, Sherman, Ottendorfer, [and] Edmunds". 


[Larger version of the file]

"The dream of the anti-expansionist" Udo Keppler. (1899 April 19). Print shows the dream of an "Anti-Expansionist" where Admiral George Dewey, General Elwell S. Otis, a sailor, and a soldier come ashore in the Philippines to offer their weapons and the American flag in surrender to Emilio Aguinaldo and a poorly armed, ragged, but haughty, group of Filipinos.


[Larger version of the file]

"The idol of the aunties" by Louis Dalrymple. (1899 May 10). Print shows Emilio Aguinaldo standing at center, wearing military uniform, and holding a flag and a sword, around him are many old men dressed as women, supplicating themselves and tossing roses at his feet, among them are Carl Schurz, John P. Jones, Charles A. Boutelle, Edwin L. Godkin holding a paper labeled "N.Y. Evening Post", William B. Cockran, Eugene Hale, George G. Vest, Donelson Caffery, George F. Hoar playing a lyre labeled "Sen. Hoar", William Lloyd Garrison, Jr. reading his "Ode to Dear Aguinaldo", George F. Edmunds, Joseph Pulitzer, Oswald Ottendorfer, [and] William Jennings Bryan. There is a bundle of "Editorials" on a rock in the left foreground. 


[Larger version of the file]

"They can't hold him back" by J.S. Pughe. (1899 May 24). Print shows an American soldier carrying a rifle and bag labeled "U.S.V.", walking in a tropical location; diminutive figures labeled "Bryan, Ottendorfer, Pulitzer, Atkinson, [and] Godkin" are attempting to hold him back, George F. Hoar, left behind, stands with his right arm raised in the background.  



[Larger version of the file]

"Bryan's progress" by Louis Dalrymple. (1899 November 15). Print shows William Jennings Bryan wearing a plumed hat labeled "1900" and riding on a rocking horse labeled "Presidential Aspirations", leading a small army, among whom are William J. Stone, James K. Stone, James S. Hogg (carrying a blunderbuss labeled "Anti-Expansionist"), and Benjamin R. Tillman, also a "Silver Republican" and a "Populist", others carry flags labeled "Anti-Trust" and "Free Silver"; they have emerged from a fortress labeled "16 to 1" and are following a rocky road, with some rocks labeled "1896", toward a fortress topped with the White House. 


[Larger version of the file]

"Busted" by J.S. Pughe. (1899 December 20). Print shows William Jennings Bryan carrying a "Cross of Gold", a "Crown of Thorns", and a carpetbag labeled "W.J.B. Speeches" as he walks along railroad tracks headed in the opposite direction of Washington, D.C.; walking with him are newspaper editors Edwin L. Godkin carrying papers labeled "Anti-American Editorials", Joseph Pulitzer, Edward Atkinson, Carl Schurz carrying a drum on his back labeled "Anti-Expansion Band", and Oswald Ottendorfer carrying a small bag labeled "Staats Zeitung". In the background, William McKinley is riding on a railroad car labeled "Expansion Train" that is racing along railroad tracks, headed for Washington, D.C. 


[Larger version of the file]

"In a hole; - and no "issue"" by J.S.Pughe. (1899 December 27). Print shows William Jennings Bryan as the Democratic Donkey with the bit end of a bridle in his mouth, trying to climb out of a hole constructed of blocks labeled "Aguinaldoism, Anti-Trust, Anti-Imperialism, Free Riots, Anti-Expansion, Free Silver, Populism, Calamity Cry, [and] Chicago Platform", with the U.S. Capitol nearby. 


[Larger version of the file]

"Declined with thanks" by J.S. Pughe. (1900 September 5). Illustration shows a huge Uncle Sam getting a new outfit made at the "McKinley and Company National Tailors" with President McKinley taking the measurements. Carl Schurz, Joseph Pulitzer, and Oswald Ottendorfer stand inside the entrance to the shop and Schurz is offering Uncle Sam a spoonful of "Anti-Expansion Policy" medicine, a bottle of which each is carrying. On the right are bolts of cloth labeled "Enlightened Foreign Policy" and "Rational Expansion." The strips on Uncle Sam's trousers are labeled "Texas, Louisiana Purchase, Alaska, Florida, California, Hawaii, [and] Porto Rico." Caption: The Antis. Here, take a dose of this anti-fat and get slim again! Uncle Sam No, Sonny!, I never did take any of that stuff, and I'm too old to begin!


[Larger version of the file]

"The spider and the three silly flies" by J.S. Pughe. (1900 October 10) Illustration shows William Jennings Bryan as a large spider labeled "Free Silver" with three flies labeled "White, Schurz, [and] Godkin" caught in his web labeled "16 to 1," "Anti-expansion," "Chicago Platform" and "Bryanism." 


[Larger version of the file]

"The Aguinaldo guard" by J.S. Pughe. (1900 October 17). Illustration shows William Jennings Bryan standing in the stirrups of his mount, a donkey labeled "Democracy", directing the honor guard led by Adlai Stevenson, and including Henry R. Towne, Joseph Pulitzer, and Carl Schurz carrying a large flag with a portrait of Emilio Aguinaldo under the heading "The George Washington of the Philippines." Also included are "Oswald Ottendorfer, Edwin L. Godkin, Bourke Cockran, John Altgeld, and William Sulzer. 


[Larger version of the file]

"Consistency, thou art a jewel!" by Louis Dalrymple. (1900 October 24). Illustration shows two views of William Jennings Bryan sitting at a desk working on his campaign principles; the lower scene shows Bryan preparing for the 1896 presidential election, to the right are Carl Schurz, Henry Watterson, Bourke Cockran, Richard Olney, and David Hill, all in disagreement with Bryan, each holding a sheet of paper disclaiming his principles. In the upper scene, Bryan has crossed out 1896 and replaced it with 1900, adhering to, and remaining consistent with, his earlier principles; to the right are the same five disclaimers, this time they bow to Bryan and offer only one comment "We do not believe you will do what you promise to do, and we admire you because we think you are insincere. Hill, Olney, Cockran, Watterson, Schurz."


[Larger version of the file]

"It won't take" by J.S. Pughe. (1900 October 31). Illustration shows William Jennings Bryan holding a large bellows labeled "Bryanism", which he is using to fan the flames of a small campfire labeled "Imperialism." On the left side of the fire is Carl Schurz and on the right, kneeling on the ground, is Adlai Stevenson, they blow on the fire as well, to no affect.


[Larger version of the file]

"The real German-American" by Udo Keppler. (1900 October 31). Illustration shows a German American man standing in front of a banner showing bust portraits of President William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt; as he casts his vote, he uses his left hand, holding papers labeled "Naturalization", to brush aside the German Emperor, William II, and Carl Schurz. Caption: He does his own thinking, and will do his own voting.


[See very large version [2466 px 7.9 MB]]

"Columbia's Easter Bonnet" by Ehrhart after a sketch by Dalrymple. (April 6, 1901).  Columbia is wearing a military jacket and is pinning a hat to her hair with a small sword. Her hat is in the shape of a battle ship named "World Power" and has cannons named "Army" and "Navy". Black smoke billows from the ship's funnel with the word "Expansion". Around her waist is a chatelaine decorated with an American eagle hanging from which are a small black pistol and a golden bayonnette. 


[Larger version of the file]

"The lesson of the President's journey" by J.S. Pughe. (1901 May 29). Illustration shows representatives of the "Democratic, Republican, Populist, [and] Prohibition" parties carrying a larger-than-life-sized President McKinley on a sedan chair, and waving their hats as a show of support for McKinley's policies, behind them, on the right, are standing William Jennings "Bryan," George F. "Hoar," and Edward "Atkinson" dressed like Filipinos. In the background is the U.S. Capitol building. Caption: All parties support him now, - except the unreconstructed Filipinos.


[Larger version of the file]

"Wireless telegraphy" by J.S. Pughe. (1902 February 26). Illustration shows George F. Hoar sitting on the U.S. Capitol dome using a telegraph to send a "wireless" message "Keep it up! We are with you!" across a body of water to the insurgent forces fighting against American troops in the Philippines; at the base of the Capitol are several men waving "Anti-Expansion" banners.


[Larger version of the file]

"The flag must "stay put"" by J.S. Pughe. (1902 June 4). Illustration shows George F. Hoar, Carl Schurz, David B. Hill, and former Massachusetts Governor George S. Boutwell, anti-expansionists, placing their "Anti-Expansion Speech" at the feet of a huge American soldier holding a rifle and the American flag, while opposite them Filipinos place guns and swords at the soldier's feet. Caption: The American Filipinos and the Native Flipinos will have to submit.


[Larger version of the file]

"The shade of Jefferson protests" J.S. Pughe. (1902 June 11). Illustration shows David B. Hill standing on a platform, speaking to an unseen audience; he holds a paper that states "Jefferson! Jeffersonianism!! Jeffersonian Simplicity!!!" The ghost of Thomas Jefferson is tapping him on the elbow. Caption: "Hold on there, David! - Don't make me ridiculous! Remember, I was always an Expansionist - and if I were alive to day I should be doing just as McKinley and Roosevelt have done." 


[Larger version of the file]

"Last stand of the anti-imperialist" by Udo Keppler. (1902 August 27). Illustration shows anti-imperialists George F. Hoar, Carl Schurz, Edward Atkinson, Charles Francis Adams, Jr., and Andrew Carnegie drowning in "Quicksand of Public Opinion" with the U.S. Capitol building in the background.


[Larger version of the file]

"St. Louis's object lesson to anti-expansionists" by Udo Keppler. (1903 April 15). Illustration shows a statue of Thomas Jefferson labeled "Thomas Jefferson The Father of Expansion" at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in Saint Louis, Missouri, with Puck directing the attention of George F. Hoar and other anti-expansionists Edward Atkinson, Carl Schurz, and Charles F. Adams who look on in disbelief.   

Posted: Sunday - July 15, 2012 at 10:24 AM