Anti-Catholic Cartoon of the Week, 1928

This poster was issued during the 1928 presidential campaign, when New York Governor Alfred E. Smith ran on the Democratic ticket. Seen here in support of him are the corrupt urban political machines (represented by the Tammany Tiger), the Roman Catholic Church, and those wanting to repeal Prohibition (called the “Wet Crowd”). Historians agree that anti-Catholicism played a significant role in the election, which Republican Herbert Hoover won. Smith’s defeat was called by the Jesuit poet Leonard Feeney ” the night of sixteen million tragedies.”

About Pat McNamara
  • http://lexanteinternet.blogspot.com/ Pat_H

    As strong as the KKK was at that time, I guess I’m not surprised by a Klan cartoon (which is what the caption indicates that this is) which was opposed to Smith. What does really surprise me, however, is that one of the “Gang” depicted here is the “Wet Crowd”.
    That opponents of Smith used his Catholicism against him is well known, and that the KKK was anti-Catholic is as well. The association with Tammany is not too surprising, as Tammany had a lot of Irish American politicians in it. But was the KKK dry?

    • A P Terhune

      KKK = very dry indeed! National Prohibition and the re-created Klan of 1915 were driven by the some of the same concerns, at least in the South. (Read Daniel Okrent’s highly entertaining Prohibition history, “Last Call” for details.) Of course the original Klan of the early Reconstruction era was neither Prohibitionist nor anti-Catholic.

      The 1928 cartoon is lighthearted and whimsical in comparison with the sort of anti-Catholic stuff that the Radical Republicans put out in the North during and after the Civil War.


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