Campaign Analogies: Domestic


 “House-Clearing at Washington”
  Cartoonist:  Unknown
  Source:  Frank Leslie’s Budget of Fun
  Date:   June 1, 1864, pp. 8-9

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
In this Budget of Fun cartoon, President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State William Henry Seward clean the White House of annoying rats. In the left foreground, Governor Horatio Seymour of New York and New York Herald managing editor Frederic Hudson appear respectively above and below the box of rat poison bearing the name of a leading Lincoln supporter, editor Henry Raymond of The New York Times. Seymour had been a particular thorn in the president’s side by vocally opposing the administration’s policies and publicly sympathizing with the New York City draft rioters in July 1863. In the center foreground, the rat representing Peace Democrat Clement Vallandigham has collapsed.

In the center, Lincoln takes care of his opponents in the presidential election by stepping on Democrat George B. McClellan and trying to sweep Radical Republican John C. Fremont into “An Appointment” trap. No office was actually offered to Fremont, but he did withdraw from the campaign in late September. Conservative Postmaster General Montgomery Blair, a foe of Fremont’s, was removed from his post to appease the Radicals.

The rat atop the doorframe (upper left) is Benjamin Butler, a controversial Union general who had been touted by some as a possible presidential candidate who could unite War Democrats and Republicans dissatisfied with the Lincoln administration. He declined to run, however, and was ordered to New York City in October to prevent election-day riots. Hanging off the cabinet is a cage holding the rat of Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase, who in early 1864 had to end his campaign challenging Lincoln for the Republican nomination. The president accepted Chase’s resignation in June not long after this postdated cartoon was published. The rodent on the doorframe (upper right) is Congressman Fernando Wood, a major Peace Democrat and former mayor of New York City. The bottle of poison near Seward (left) is named after Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, who helped elect Lincoln in 1860, but became a frequent critic of the president.













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