Ancestry is Destiny

Thomas Nast cartoon, Matthew Quay and Benjamin Harrison
Party boss Matthew Quay gives Harrison a sizeable contribution from Philadelphia department-store magnate John Wanamaker to help carry swing-state Indiana (site of the “Blocks of Five” scandal).


Air — “Rosin the Bow.”

The voice of the nation has spoken,
The Democrats shake in their shoes;
The sceptre of Grover is broken;
He shrinks at the glorious news.


All hail to the glorious West!
Log cabins and yeomen, to you!
The land of the brave and the blest,
The home of old Tippecanoe!

G. Cleveland, these four years has mocked us,
His flesh is no sign of reform;
With promises false he has stocked us,
And now he must go with the storm.

Chorus. — All hail, etc.

Our shops he would like to demolish
With blows of the bludgeon “Free Trade.”
And so in November we’ll polish
This Grover with Harrison’s aid!

Chorus. — All hail, etc.

Hail East, and the North, South and West,
The spirit of ’40 renew;
Choose, yeomen, the man who is best —
The grandson of Tippecanoe.


The oversize full-bell-crown top hat that Harrison wears in political cartoons of the period is “his grandfather’s hat,” of President William Henry Harrison.    “Old Tippecanoe” was the first Harrison’s nickname in the 1840 Whig campaign, referring to the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe (a comparatively minor skirmish against the Native Americans on the western frontier, boosted into a major victory by Whig propagandists to counterbalance the genuine large-scale victory at New Orleans by Andrew Jackson against British regulars in the War of 1812).  Benjamin Harrison, a Federal brigadier general in the American Civil War, personally had a more distinguished military record than his grandfather, but that wasn’t what the Republicans used.

The “log cabin” also refers to the 1840 campaign, where the aristocratic Harrison (who may have seen a log cabin) was presented as a log-cabin-dwelling cider-drinking man-of-the-people, as the presidential elections became more populist, with the electors in the Electoral College chosen by popular vote rather than being appointed by the state legislatures as had previously been the case.

Harrison’s opponent in 1888 was incumbent Democrat S. Grover Cleveland.  Grover was sometimes refereed to as “Uncle Jumbo” or “The Stuffed Prophet” due to his girth.  The suggestion here is that someone of such immodest appetite could hardly be a reformer.

The main campaign issue in 1888 was tariffs.  The Republicans favored a high protective tariff. The Democrats favored Free Trade.

Tomorrow: LOG CABIN AND HARD CIDER (to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne”).

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