Against Direct Democracy

The Republican nominee, incumbent President William Howard Taft was the most outspoken critic of direct democracy in 1912.  Taft was especially exorcised over calls for judicial recall.  These cartoons suggest arguments against direct democracy.
JudicialRecallColor.JPG (38689 bytes)
"The Blot," scanned from Judge, shows Taft's basic position.  The President considered the recall a challenge to the independence of the judiciary as a branch of government, and an affront to reverence for the law.  (The occasion for this cartoon was Arizona's decision to allow the recall of judges.)


JudicialRecallPrimitiveandRadicalCartoon.JPG (35716 bytes)
Scanned from Taft Truths, March 26, 1912.  Reprinted from the Washington Star
AntiRecall.JPG (27725 bytes)
Scanned from Judge May 4, 1912
UncleJoeCannonOverboard.JPG (72572 bytes)
Insurgency against Speaker of the House Joseph Cannon in 1909 and 1910 was related to the issues of direct democracy.  Cannon represented an older view of legislative partisanship in which the party caucus kept divisive issues at bay, carefully planning what the record the party would present to voters.  This cartoon, scanned from Judge Sept. 17, 1910, suggested that nothing would satisfy the insurgents.  It also demonstrates that ideas of expanding popular rule antedated 1912, and related to substantive issues.