Pankies Were Hankied in Indiana

Benjamin Harrison -- 1888
Benjamin Harrison


AIR — Policemen’s Chorus, Pirates of Penzance — “When the Foeman Bares His Steel”

Glorious is our candidate!
Brave in war and wise in State!
And we certainly expect
Him, this autumn, to elect;
For when foemen would invade
And the Nation calls for aid,
Quicker answer comes from none
Than from gallant Harrison!
Rise, then, lovers of Protection!
Forward, march in this direction!
We must win the next election,
Or prosperity is gone!
Vote the busy mill preserving!
Vote good pay to those deserving!
Vote against Free Trade, unswerving!
Vote for gallant Harrison !

Grover Cleveland does his best,
But the greatness of a vest,
And the thoughts by others lent,
Cannot make a President!
He no promises has kept,
At reform he’s not adept,
And he serves our foes with zest —
Still, we think, he does his best.

Grover’s tried his hand at ruling;
It has been to him a schooling,
But he’s daubed us with his drooling,
And we’re very, very tired.
So, to stop his wild cavortin’
And our own distress to shorten,
We’re for Harrison and Morton —
That’s a pair to be admired!

Thurman, of the red Bandan,
Goes as Cleveland’s second man;
But he cannot do at all
What was planned for him this fall!
Indiana is all right!
And New York is just in sight!
And it’s very evident
On Protection they are bent!

And Morton, too!
Then forward on the foe
We go, we go.

— O. C. Hooper.


One wonders whether the songwriter was actually familiar with the Policemen’s Chorus.  The original words are not terribly … inspiring of hope for the party.

Republican candidate Harrison of Indiana had been a genuine Civil War hero.  Exactly which invading foeman is being discussed here?  Perhaps the perfidious English who were intent on Free Trade.

The Republicans were long-time supporters of Protectionism by means of tariffs.  Some have argued that Harrison’s protectionism led to the Panic of 1893, although financial jiggery-pokery by the railroads probably had more to do with it.

Grover Cleveland, the Democratic incumbent (the first Democratic president since the Civil War) had been voted in as a reform candidate, winning against the stunningly corrupt James G. Blaine.  To prevent a similar disaster, the Republicans in 1888 resorted to some of the most blatant vote fraud in US history.  The result was the third instance of a candidate losing the popular vote but winning in the Electoral College.  (The previous two were Adams/Jackson in 1824 and Tilden/Hayes in 1876.)

Harrison’s vice-presidential candidate in 1888 was Levi Morton of New York.

Cleveland’s vice-presidential candidate was Allen Thurman of Ohio.  Thurman was famous for his red bandana, with which he punctuated his rhetorical flourishes.

“Tippecanoe” was Benjamin Harrison’s grandfather, William Henry Harrison.

Next time: A Song of Two Soldiers

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