utherford B. Hayes had won the presidential election of 1876 under a cloud of
suspicion (see the 1876 Overview to this website). The electoral college returns from three
Southern states were disputed, requiring a special Electoral Commission to
decide the result in Hayes's favor on a strict party-line vote, amid rumors of
deal-making and compromises. President Hayes did everything he could to
vindicate himself, and many political observers concluded that he had served the
nation admirably. In 1880, Hayes kept his campaign promise by not seeking
another term, and many Republican party leaders thought it best that his role in
the Garfield campaign be as minimal as possible.
That situation is addressed in this Joseph Keppler cartoon for Puck. Hayes
appears as Cinderella, who must tend the White House while her evil
step-sisters, former president Ulysses S. Grant and Senator Roscoe Conkling,
leave for the campaign ball.
Mistress Grant wears a dress stitched with place-names from her (his)
post-presidential world tour, and a bonnet marked with Grant's final vote-tally
(306) at the 1880 Republican National Convention, as well as feathers praising
his "party fidelity" and "war record." Mistress Conkling
holds a "Chet" Arthur fan in her (his) hand (alluding to the senator's
influence over the Republican vice-presidential nominee), and wears a hat
boasting of Conkling's "greatest effort" made for the Garfield
campaign. A poster in the right-background, announcing their appearance at a
public rally, designates them as "Roscoe the Restorer of Prosperity"
and Grant the "Savior of the Country.
The showy display performed by Grant and Conkling is contrasted by the virtues
of President Hayes and the substantive accomplishments of his administration,
which are revealed on the labels of the kitchen jars, pots, and pans: "Hard
Work Marmalade," "Good Temper Preserved," "Milk of Human
Kindness," "Veto Catsup," "Fair Southern Policy Apple
Butter," and "Civil Service Reform Pickles."