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By the Dawn's early light
By the Dawn's early light
TitleBy the Dawn's early light
Date of Original1918-05-20
CreatorBaer, John Miller, 1886-1970
Creator RoleArtist
DescriptionFarmer spreading 'democracy' seed in field from bag labeled 'Liberty seed', with a crow on ground labeled 'Old Gang.' The sky is rendered as the U.S. flag.
Ordering InformationConsult:
General SubjectPolitics & Government
Subject (LCTGM)Political cartoons
Magazine covers
Periodical illustrations
Subject (LCSH)Sowing
Personal NameRube, Hiram (Symbolic character)
LocationUnited States
Item NumberHD1485.N4 N66;
Format of OriginalDrawings
Color images
Dimensions of Original35 x 26 cm.
Publisher of OriginalNational Nonpartisan League
Place of PublicationSaint Paul (Minn.)
Transcription"The Sower and the Old Black Crow. IF YOU haven't studied the front cover of this issue of the Leader, turn to it now. We are going to say something about it that we think is important. This cover cartoon is by John M. Baer, the man sent down to congress at Washington, D. C., by Nonpartisan league farmers of North Dakota. Baer has a way of telling more in one picture than the rest of us can tell in a volume. This cartoon tells what is going on in America better than any other cartoon that the Leader has published in some time. It tells what is going on, not only in connection with the fight of the organized farmers, but in connection with every other progressive movement.
Baer has drawn a picture of a sower--one who plants seed with the intention of growing a useful crop. The sower looks like a farmer, but you can consider him as any earnest, thinking, honest citizen who has at heart the welfare of this country which he loves and defends. The sower is putting in seed labeled "democracy." This is only the start of his job, if he is to have a harvest. Some one has said that planting is a prayer and that the harvest is the fulfillment. When the seed this sower is planting sprouts, takes root, grows and is harvested, this country will be a better country to live in, because it will have a larger measure of democracy, more perfect rule of the people-and those things mean the overthrow of monopolists, dishonest politicians, unnecessary middlemen and crooked big business. That will be the fulfillment of the prayer of millions of earnest citizens.
If you want to consider this sower a Nonpartisan league farmer, the picture fits perfectly. The Nonpartisan league farmer is an American citizen who wants to leave this nation to his children in better shape than it was handed down to him by his father. In that he is following in the footsteps of men like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. The Nonpartisan league citizen is so patriotic that he has a burning ambition to do his part, no matter how little, in correcting abuses in politics, in eradicating unjust social conditions, in abolishing industrial oppression, that every honest man may have a better chance and every crook be surer of his just deserts. He is so patriotic in wanting his country to be the best country on earth that he can even stand being called a traitor by persons with shriveled souls or corrupted hearts.
The Nonpartisan league farmer is very much in earnest about this business of making America a better place in which to live. He is so earnest about it that he contributes $16 every two years to the cause. He works for it night and day. He helps get up meetings and picnics where these things are discussed. He suffers abuse and slander and personal indignities for this cause-lately, in some parts of the country, even tar and feathers and lashes administered on his bare back by gangs of poor deluded fanatics. He "talks League" to his friends and writes about it to the newspapers. He reads. He thinks. He votes. HE IS A SOWER OF DEMOCRACY. And when this crop he is sowing is reaped, every man, woman and child in America who does not live by the sweat of another man's brow will benefit.
BUT there is another figure in this picture of Baer's. You get only half the idea if you have looked only at the sower. Take a look at THE OLD BLACK CROW. What is this old black crow? Baer has called him the "old gang." By that Baer means the politicians, in and out of office, and the newspapers, big and little, that serve the interests of the men WHO LIVE BY THE SWEAT OF OTHER MEN'S BROWS. Those interests are for democracy also-at least they say they are. Sure! They are for it for Germany or South Africa, BUT NOT HERE. They don't want any harvest of the crop of democracy in America, because democracy means a denial of the ‘right' of one man to live by the sweat of another man's brow. And so they have hired an old black crow--the politicians and newspapers--to prevent the sower from getting any crop from these seeds the sower is planting.
And there you have the whole picture--the sower. SOWING BILLIONS OF SEEDS, and the old black crow, PICKING THEM UP ONE BY ONE. And the old black crow and the interests that have hired him for this job think they are going to prevent the sower getting a crop! Work away, old black crow! Fill your crop to bursting with these seeds that the sower is planting. IT WILL DO YOU GOOD TO GET A LITTLE NOURISHMENT FROM THE SEEDS OF DEMOCRACY. AND IT CAN'T HURT THE CROP.
DID you ever stop to think of this? IT DOESN'T MATTER EVEN IF THE SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE HAPPENS AND THEY DO BREAK UP THE LEAGUE! Enough seed will have been sown that is bound to sprout and grow, no matter what happens to this particular movement for democracy and justice in America. THE RANKS OF PROGRESS PRESS EVER FORWARD. When one standard-bearer falls, the flag is seized by another behind. When one regiment is shattered and gives a little ground, there are always the reserves. The spirit of progress is a spark that is planted in every baby's breast, and it becomes a holy flame in enough patriots to furnish plenty of reserves. They can't break up the League-this time you've got them! But even if they did, it wouldn't matter. THERE WOULD BE A NEW LEAGUE, A NEW PEOPLE'S MOVEMENT, NEW LEADERS! And so always the sowing of the seeds of democracy goes on. It doesn't matter much what happens to the sowers. Some of the seeds take root and grow, in spite of the old black crows! There was a big crop in 1787 when the American Constitution was adopted. The seeds of that crop were planted in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was written, and there were old black crows aplenty then, too. There have been other big crops since. THERE ARE MORE BIG CROPS IN PROSPECT.
Sow plenty of seed and keep the old black crow busy." - Accompanying text on page 6.
NotesTitle from caption on cartoon.
Illus. in: Nonpartisan Leader, May 20, 1918, cover.
Bibliographic Reference"The Sower and the Old Black Crow, " Nonpartisan Leader, May 20, 1918. p. 6.
Repository InstitutionNorth Dakota State University Libraries, Institute for Regional Studies
Repository CollectionNonpartisan Leader periodical collection HD1485.N4 N66
Collection Finding AidConsult:
Credit LineInstitute for Regional Studies, NDSU, Fargo
Rights ManagementIn public domain.
Digital IDNPL00033
Original SourceNonpartisan Leader, May 20, 1918
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