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Clifford Berryman


Clifford Berryman (1869-1949)
Published ca. 1930 in the Washington Star

Without knowing what year this cartoon was published, it is difficult to ascertain which October policy inspired it. In 1933, Roosevelt considered ending a mandatory 10% mark-up on retail groceries. The New York Times reported that allowing merchants to drop below 10% mark-ups “would mean ‘financial ruin within three or four months’ for thousands of retail merchants.” While smaller businesses found this regulation life-saving, larger businesses perceived it as meddlesome.

In October of 1935, debates were held to determine the extent to which the government should be able to protect labor over the interests of business. Pennsylvania Governor George H. Earle backed the President’s defense of the Guffey Coal Bill and argued “that the miners of southwestern Pennsylvania were worse off than chattel slaves before the Civil War.” That issue was before the Supreme Court, and the various pundits were speculating on the impact of the Court’s eventual decision.

By October 1936, political rhetoric moved away from the conflict between business and the administration and towards the conflict between European nations. Kansas Governor Alf Landon spoke rather vociferously that the United States “mind its own business” in international politics.

Regardless of the specific policy, Berryman's cartoon suggests that FDR and U.S. Business had an adverse relationship in which each could be “startled” by the actions and the mere sight of the other.