In the early 1880s, Jay Gould gained control of the Atlantic and Pacific telegraph company in a classic takeover strategy to acquire Western Union, the largest telegraph company in the U.S. and the prize possession of the Vanderbilts.
In 1880, The New York Times published an article titled, Vanderbelt Clearing Out: Jay Gould Taking His Place. Gould purchased 100,000 shares of Western Union stock from William Vanderbilt, who had just acquired his father's company (Cornelius Vanderbilt died in 1877). The deal was supposedly "kept as quiet as possible". The paper went on to say that Gould "would make a cool $7,000,000."
As these events unfolded, Puck Magazine published a series of lithographs and woodcuts by Joseph Keppler, Frederick Opper, Barnhard Gillam and others. The cartoons were a relentless onslaught of negative press and public criticism.
Comics do rally public support. Check out the ad campaigns inviting us to occupy the streets. In this respect, these comics are a fascinating example of how iconography can coalesce into a powerful movement. While technically these are not political, at least in a partisan way (no party affiliation and no list of demands), they are inciting people to take action.