None But Tyrants

The effect of Negative Gravity : I don't know how it's done, Benjamin, but it's agin reason
The effect of “Negative Gravity” : I don’t know how it’s done, Benjamin, but it’s agin reason!  Benjamin Harrison, wearing his grandfather’s hat, is pulled aloft by James G. Blaine (standing behind the curtains). Uncle Sam is unsuccessfully trying to pull himself up by his own bootstraps; his boots are labeled “War Tariff.” Above, the cornucopia spilling golden coins is labeled “A Fool’s Paradise — this in where you get rich by taxing yourself.”


Air — “Scots wha kae.”

Men, whose sires for freedom bled!
Men, whom patriots oft have led!
Men, by treasury spoils unfed,
On, to victory!

Now’s the day and now’s the hour!
See approach the tyrant’s power!
Shall we to the tyrant’s cower?
Shall we turn and flee?

Hear the foe’s insulting cry!
Hear them boast of victory nigh!
Men, that boasting we defy —
We shall still be free!

What care we if Mugwumps yield?
Here’s our chosen battle-field,
Grasp the sword and brace the shield!
On, to victory!

Rally men in Labor’s cause!
Fight for honest Tariff laws!
Falter not, nor turn, nor pause!
On, to victory !

Tis a Harrison leads on!
He’s a gallant Buckeye son!
Think of former triumphs won!
On, to victory!


“Spoils” refer to the political patronage system of rewarding one’s supporters with government jobs.  This was eventually replaced by the Civil Service system, beginning with the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883.

The tyrant, I suppose, must have been Grover Cleveland.  Andrew Jackson had been called a tyrant for vetoing bills passed by congress (and therefore rejecting the will of the people).  John Tyler in his turn had been called a tyrant for vetoing bills passed by congress.  Now along came Grover: he vetoed more bills than all the previous presidents, back to George Washington, combined.

The Mugwumps were Republicans who voted Democratic.  In 1884, when Grover was elected thanks to the Mugwump vote, it was easy to see who they were: the secret ballot was a reform introduced in 1892.

Harrison stood for tariffs.  Cleveland stood for free trade.

Ohio is the Buckeye State, and Harrison was born in Ohio (though he resided in Indiana at the time of the 1888 election).

Tomorrow: The Old Battle Flag

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