parties  &  platforms leaders themes JOURNALS FEATURES

John Altgeld Susan B. Anthony William J. Bryan Andrew Carnegie Grover Cleveland
Eugene V. Debs Mark Hanna William R. Hearst Mary 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


NY Press and the Newspaper Wars

featuring William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer


Joseph Pulitzer

American journalism was undergoing changes in the 1890s. Traditionally, newspapers had strong party affiliations and were funded by party contributions. If an editor's party won the election, he (or in some cases she) might hope for a patronage job in the next administration, such as a position in a local post office. This system was still in place in many parts of the country. In urban areas, however, increasing numbers of journals were labelling themselves 'independent.' An example represented on this website is The Ram’s Horn, whose editors took strong positions on prohibition, the trusts, and other issues, but considered themselves above party politics.

Other independent editors and newspaper owners pursued a very different 'independent' path, pioneering what later became known as 'yellow journalism' or 'tabloidism.' They built enormous circulations for their newspapers in the big cities, with celebrity columnists, aggressive sports coverage, and sensationalist news.


Joseph Pulitzer

Two of the major practitioners of this new journalism were bitter rivals: Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911) (above) and William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951) (below left) . While pioneering new types of journalism, they also began to accumulate the first inter-city newspaper empires. The Hungarian-born Pulitzer owned not only the New York World but also the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which took a staunchly pro-Bryan stance. The World, on the other hand, joined the vast majority of Eastern papers that were anti-Bryan. The World was unusual, however, in using the trusts issue to attack Bryan, noting that much of his funding came from Western silver-mining interests. Such criticisms helped--even among McKinley supporters--to bring the issue of trusts and monopolies to the fore in subsequent years.

Outcault's The Yellow Kid

In September 1895, Hearst had acquired the New York Journal, one of the few major Eastern papers that supported Bryan. Hearst had inherited an enormous fortune, and he used much of it in a competition to take circulation away from Pulitzer. He knocked the price of the Journal down to a penny, whereas the World cost 2 cents, and established a dominant place in the New York popular press.

Homer Davenport, working for the Journal, became one of the nation's leading cartoonists and his caricatures of Hanna were widely copied in 1896 and 1900. Pulitzer, however, won his own victory during the campaign. Richard F. Outcault's 'Yellow Kid,' (right) an early comic, appeared in the Journal's colored Sunday section and was wildly popular among New Yorkers. During the 1896 campaign, Pulitzer hired Outcault away from Hearst, and the Yellow Kid began appearing in the World. The Yellow Kid, along with Hearst's warnings in his San Francisco Chronicle, about the 'yellow peril' of Asian immigration, helped give this new brand of newspaper a denigrating name: 'yellow journalism.' Hearst and Pulitzer's fame, and the circulation of their newspapers, grew subsequently through their sensationalistic coverage of the Spanish-American War.


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W. R. Hearst

William Randolph Hearst

The New York World and Sun are vieing with each other to see which can invent the most palpable absurdity with regard to what they are pleased to term "arguments against silver." Day after day will be found columns about the loss to laborers and pensioners by reason of payment in 53-cent silver dollars. Side by side will appear statistics as to how much the silver mine owners will make by exchanging 50 cents worth of silver for 100-cent silver dollars.

The New York Journal, young Hearst's paper, deserves the encomiums of every silver man in this country. It is wonderfully well edited and the vigor of its answers to the absurdities of its opponents makes one feel after reading it pleased for a long time. Davenport's cartoons are unequaled and are to this campaign what Nast's were in the Grant-Greeley campaign. —Nevada State Journal, October 9


© 2010 Rebecca Edwards, author of New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905 by Rebecca Edwards, Oxford University Press


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Chronology

Major events of the campaign,
in cartoon and story. (Click date)


  • Feb 27: People’s Advocate: Reading Tillman's Speech
  • Mar 19: People’s Advocate: Pitchfork
  • Apr 4: The Ram’s Horn: Rescued
  • Apr 15: Sound Money: History Repeats Itself
  • Apr 25: The Ram’s Horn: The Stranger at Our Gate
  • May 28: Prohibitionist’s convention, Pittsburgh, PA
  • June 16: Republican convention, St. Louis, MO
  • June 21: Denver New Road: Cleveland's Romance
  • June 28: L.A. Times: Bucking a Wall
  • July 4: Socialist convention, New York, NY
  • July 11: Democratic convention, Chicago, Illinois
  • July 9: Rocky Mountain News: A Soliloquy
  • July 11: Harper’s Weekly: Gold Bugs
  • July 12: L.A. Times: The Old Lady and Her New Wheel
  • July 16: People’s Advocate: McKinley's Evil Sprit
  • July 18: Harper’s Weekly: Altgeld and Bryan
  • July 22: Silver convention, St. Louis, MO
  • July 25: People’s Party convention, St. Louis, MO
  • July 22: Rocky Mountain News: Wall Street's Private Studio
  • July 25: Harper’s Weekly: Farmer McKinley
  • July 25: Judge: The Silver Candle
  • July 27: Chicago Record: Bryan's Tightrope
  • Aug 5: Rocky Mountain News: The Plain English of It
  • Aug 6: Sound Money: Spain and Rothschilds
  • Aug 8: McKinley accepts Republican nomination
  • Aug 9: Denver New Road: Bryan's Romance
  • Aug 12: Bryan accepts Democratic nomination
  • Aug 13: American Non-Conformist: Farmer Hanna
  • Aug 15: Rocky Mountain News: Bryan the Lion
  • Aug 16: L.A. Times: Aesop's Fox
  • Aug 18: Rocky Mountain News: Hanna the Wizard
  • Aug 20: Sound Money: The Cross of Gold
  • Aug 20: L.A. Times: Popocratic Witches
  • Aug 22: The Ram’s Horn: A Double Burden
  • Aug 29: Harper’s Weekly: McKinley the Veteran
  • Aug 29: Labor Advocate: Look at This
  • Aug 30: St. Louis Globe Democrat: Dime Museum
  • Sept 2: National (Gold) Democratic convention, Indianapolis, IN
  • Sept to Nov 1: McKinley front-porch campaign, Canton, OH
  • Sept 3: New York Journal: Li Hung Chang
  • Sept 5: Harper’s Weekly: The Crown of Thorns
  • Sept 5: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Just the Bare Facts
  • Sept 6: L.A. Times: Comrades in Arms
  • Sept 6: St. Paul Pioneer Press: A Bryan Dollar
  • Sept 8: Early election day in Arkansas and Vermont
  • Sept 9: Rocky Mountain News: John Bull
  • Sept 10: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Arkansas and Vermont
  • Sept 11 to Nov 1: Bryan travels 13,000 miles by train, stump-speaking around the nation.
  • Sept 11: St. Paul Pioneer Press: The Divorcee
  • Sept 11: St. Louis Globe Democrat: Uncle Sam Diagnoses
  • Sept 12: Labor Advocate: Their Argument Misses Fire
  • Sept 12: The Ram’s Horn: Building Up His Business
  • Sept 12: Harper’s Weekly: Populist Supreme Court
  • Sept 12: New York Journal: Hanna's Funds
  • Sept 13: Boston Globe: The Silver Dog
  • Sept 13: L.A. Times: Uncle Sam's Circus
  • Sept 14: L.A. Times: Populist Pandora
  • Sept 14: Rocky Mountain News: Playing Upon a Single String
  • Sept 17: Rocky Mountain News: Chinese Immigration
  • Sept 18: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Against Turkey
  • Sept 18: Rocky Mountain News: A Horrible Suspicion
  • Sept 19: Judge: Bryan's Cross
  • Sept 19: Labor Advocate: How They Love The Farmers
  • Sept 19: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Election-Year Friend
  • Sept 20: Boston Globe: Writ of Replevin'
  • Sept 20: L.A. Times: Populist Delilah
  • Sept 20: L’Abeille de Nouvelle Orleans: The Sultan Laughs
  • Sept 20: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: John Bull's Theft
  • Sept 21: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The Robber And His Victim
  • Sept 24: L.A. Times: Resurrecting Secession
  • Sept 24: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Treachery
  • Sept 25: Daily Inter-Ocean: Democratic Jonah
  • Sept 26: Harper’s Weekly: Silver Bullfight
  • Sept 26: L.A. Times: For Sale
  • Sept 26: National Reflector: Rings On The Hog
  • Sept 26: Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Bicyclist Bryan
  • Sept 29: L.A. Times: Poor Circulation
  • Oct 1: Pioneer Press: Silver Trust Hog
  • Oct 3: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Workingman's Friend
  • Oct 4: Raleigh New and Observer: Hanna and Dixon
  • Oct 6: Election Day in the state of Florida (not all states voted on the first Tuesday in Nov).
  • Oct 6: Chicago Times: X-Ray of Bryan's Brain
  • Oct 6: Pioneer Press: Silver Conversation
  • Oct 6: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Florida's Lifeline
  • Oct 8: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Democratic Florida
  • Oct 8: New York Journal: Confident Hanna
  • Oct 10: Harper’s Weekly: Three Witches
  • Oct 10: The Coming Nation: The Worker's Treadmill
  • Oct 11: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Resurrection
  • Oct 13: New York Journal: Hanna and Workers
  • Oct 13: St. Louis Globe Democrat: Bryan as Jack Cade
  • Oct 13: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The Gold Balloon
  • Oct 15: Coxey's Sound Money: Uncle Sam Enslaved
  • Oct 15: Rocky Mountain News: Elected McKinley
  • Oct 16: Boston Globe: Bryan the Salesman
  • Oct 17: Coming Nation: Labor Exploitation
  • Oct 20: L.A. Times: Burning Cross of Gold
  • Oct 21: The Coming Nation: Socialism
  • Oct 22: Sound Money: The Old Party Scale
  • Oct 22: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Hanna's Crown of Thorns
  • Oct 24: Harper’s Weekly: Altgeld and Guiteau
  • Oct 25: Daily Inter-Ocean: Bryan's Balloon
  • Oct 25: Omaha World Herald: Getting Women to Register
  • Oct 27: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Hanna, Trusts, and Morgan
  • Oct 28: Puck: A New Civil War
  • Oct 30: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Hanna in Lehigh Valley
  • Oct 31: Republicans announce “Flag Day,” then argue with Democrats and Populists over meaning of the flag
  • Oct 31: Harper’s Weekly: Democratic Wind-Up Toys
  • Oct 31: New York Journal: Buncombe Brigade
  • Oct 31: The Ram’s Horn: Ignorance, Stupidity, and Fraud
  • Nov 2: McKinley wins presidential election
  • Nov 2: L.A. Times: Clown Bryan
  • Nov 4: L’Abeille de Nouvelle Orleans: Knock-Out Punch
  • Nov 4: St. Paul Pioneer Press: Elephant on the Silver Pillow
  • Nov 5: Sound Money: Prediction for 1900
  • Nov 14: Judge: Republican Tam O'Shanter
  • Nov 14: Coming Nation: Our Farmers Situation
  • Dec: Overland Monthly: Uncle Sam Looks Abroad
New Spirits
New Spirits
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