State Elections


 “‘Call You That Backing of Your Friends? A Plague Upon Such a Backing!”
  Cartoonist:  Bernhard Gillam
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   November 6, 1880, p. 708

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
In this cartoon the dismal results of the fall state elections in (see October Elections in Campaigning) Vermont, Ohio, and Indiana for the Democratic party is dramatized as a scene from Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor. Presidential nominee Winfield Hancock is Falstaff, a rotund character (also featured in Shakespeare's Henry IV) known for his bawdy wit and joviality. In Merry Wives, Falstaff seeks to con the two title characters, Mistresses Ford and Page, out of their money, but they outsmart him; hence, Hancock/Falstaff's distemper here. Snickering behind Hancock/Falstaff is the 1876 Democratic ticket of Thomas Hendricks (left), the vice-presidential nominee, and Samuel Tilden (right), the presidential nominee. The artist believes that Hancock's loss in 1880 will benefit Hendricks and Tilden by making them front-runners for the party's presidential nomination in 1884.

On the left, Hancock's vice-presidential running-mate, William English of Indiana, cries upon reading that his home state voted Republican in the October election. English's reputation as a mean-spirited banker is chided by the paper on his belt, inscribed "Mortgage on the Vice-Presidency Given by the Democracy [i.e., Democratic party]." Hancock's cadre of Elizabethan/Democratic friends are (left to right): Senator Benjamin Hill of Georgia; Senator Allen Thurman of Ohio; Louisville Courier-Journal editor Henry Watterson; Senator Daniel Voorhees of Indiana; and Democratic party chairman William Barnum of Connecticut.













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