Harper’s Weekly – August 9, 1884

One of the key planks in James Blaine’s 1884 campaign was Protection — high tariffs to protect working men and farmers against free trade. Nast disagreed. Here, he utilized three of his symbols to ridicule Blaine and make his point.

The Plumed Knight was on his hobby horse (symbolizing lack of power) inside a colosseum labeled “R.R. Ring,” as his cronies and Columbia (representing the U.S. in a federal tent) watched. His “political office” lance made of “real steel” (tariff-protected) was about to pierce the large bag of public money. There was nothing subtle about his explanation.