Mastro April 2008
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The prosperous-looking candidate, William McKinley, opens his arms to the cheers of satisfied businessmen at the left side of this exquisite 38" x 50" campaign poster. Lithographed in an eye-pleasing charcoal-drawing style, the poster, entitled "The Real Issue," eloquently summarizes the polarization between arch-rivals McKinley and William Jennings Bryan. The McKinley quote at the bottom edge (reading in full, "I do not know what you think about it but I believe it is a good deal better to open up the mills of the United States to the labor of America than to open up the mints of the United States to the silver of the world.") states the poster's meaning in words, and the imagery conveys the same message graphically. McKinley is posed, in front of his admirers, on the steps of bustling factories labeled "Mills of the United States." Meanwhile, Bryan, on the right side of the display's dichotomy, blandly receives the grinning individuals matched with their nations' names as, to a man, they trundle the bulk commodity of silver to the steps of the U.S. Mint by the wheel barrow and back-yokeful. McKinley's vision, of the proper order of things monetary, radiates from the surface of this splendid poster with crystal clarity. McKinley's strategy, of tying (in the public's view) the success of the nation to strong currency backed solely by gold, enabled him to defeat Bryan by a sound margin. The thus-rebuffed foreigners, with their vessels full of silver, were left to knock on the mint's doors again in 1900. Once more at that time, this poster entered service in the Republican cause, on this occasion with the legend, "McKinley Was Right in 1896.," emblazoned across its center in bright red letters. This additional slogan, neatly integrated into the poster's design for the second McKinley/Bryan go-round, adds spice to the memorabilia piece's aesthetic as well as its history. In those two elections, of course, the outcome was the same. This linen-backed poster bears minor professional restoration, and projects beautifully. Apparent EX condition. The credit line at the lower edge (beneath the Lithographers Union label) attributes the quote as "From Major McKinley's address to his old Comrades-In-Arms - April 12, 1896" and credits the "Chicago Times-Herald, August 14, 1896," as publisher.
Graphic 1896-1900 William McKinley Presidential Campaign Poster
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