Hayes: The Lament of a Lame-Duck


 “The Cinderella of the Republican Party and Her Haughty Sisters”
  Cartoonist:  Joseph Keppler
  Source:  Cartoons From "Puck"
  Date:   October 13, 1880, p. 23

Click to see a large version of this cartoon...

Click to see a large version of this cartoon

Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
Rutherford 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."













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