Created by Rebecca Edwards and Sarah DeFeo

The Cartoons Parties and Platforms Leaders Campaign Themes Special Features

The 1896 presidential election was one of the most exciting and complicated in U.S. history. This website provides an introduction to one aspect of the campaign: the hundreds of political cartoons published in newspapers around the country. Most of these cartoons have been buried in archival microfilms, where students can't reach them. They offer a window into political structures and issues, society, and culture in the United States, just before the turn of the last century. We will be adding more cartoons and features--check back occasionally to see what's new.

The site includes presidential Election Results by state. Use the Bibliography and Journal pages to explore our sources; consult the Teaching page for ideas on using "1896" with students of history, politics, or literature. If you or your class wish to do your own research and add to the site, please write to us with your proposal.

"1896" contains many images and arguments that the site's architects find offensive, including antisemitic and racial slurs. These themes--and protests against them, which were largely ignored in the press--represented the state of public opinion at the time. We include such material as part of our commitment to a full understanding of the past and its legacies today.

The symbol of the house, as well as the 1896 logo at the bottom of each page, always takes you to the top of this Home Page.

The clock takes you to a chronology of major events in the campaign, and a listing all of the cartoons reprinted at this site, in the order they were originally published.

The typewriter takes you to a list of journals and newspapers used in constructing this site, with information about their locations, editors, and circulation numbers in 1896.

The elephant, traditional symbol of the GOP ("Grand Old Party"), links to an information page on the leaders, issues, and tactics of the Republican party in the 1896 campaign.

The donkey, traditional symbol of the Democrats, links to an information page on Silver Democratic leaders, issues, and tactics in the campaign.

The plow takes you to information on the leaders and national strategy of the People's, or Populist Party, in the presidential campaign.

Index of Leaders and Themes


    John Peter Altgeld
    Susan B. Anthony
    William Jennings Bryan
    Andrew Carnegie
    Grover Cleveland
    Eugene V. Debs
    Mark Hanna
    William R. Hearst
    Mary E. Lease
    William McKinley
    J. P. Morgan
    John M. Palmer
    Joseph Pulitzer
    Elizabeth Cady Stanton
    Henry Teller
    Benjamin Tillman
    Booker T. Washington
    Tom Watson
    William Allen White

Themes of the Campaign

    McKinley Supporters and the Bible
    Bryan and the Bible
    The Civil War and Slavery
    The Currency Issue
    Economic Depression
    Farmers and Laborers
    Nativism and the A.P.A.
    Racial Prejudice
    Sectional Interests
    The Supreme Court
    The Tariff
    Trusts and Monopolies
    U.S. Foreign Relations
    Woman Suffrage
    Women in the Campaign

Popular Culture in the 1890s

    Literary Themes
    Popular Amusements
    Images of Uncle Sam

Special Features
1896 at Vassar College

Teaching 1896: Classroom Ideas

A Vassar College Website

Created by Rebecca Edwards, Assistant Professor of History
Sarah DeFeo, Vassar '99

with help from students in
History 276, "A House Divided: The United States, 1830-1890," and with

Profuse Thanks to:

Michael Joyce
Vassar CELT (Center for Electronic Learning & Teaching),
especially Chris Asta '03 (for extensive help with images) and Sarah Torre '01

Vassar College Library
. . . with special appreciation to Sabrina Pape, Kathy Kurosman, and Robin Walsh
The Ford Scholar Program of Vassar College

The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities
H-Net: History Online

Edward Ayers, University of Virginia
Anne Rubin, University of Virginia
Fitzhugh Brundage, University of Florida
Ray Hyser, James Madison University
Robert Phipps, West Virginia University

Shira Jacobs, Vassar '96
Heather Harmon, Vassar '97
Daniel Rosan, Vassar '00
Kate Stewart, Vassar '01

© 2000, Rebecca Edwards, Vassar College