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1888 Political Cartoon

This political cartoon appeared in "Puck" magazine, and was drawn by J. Keppler. "Puck" was a Democratic Party supporter.

"Opening of the New Republican Cafe"

1888 Political Cartoon

President Benjamin Harrison is standing in the center at the table ready to serve the gentlemen. The man behind the bar has an "M" on his tie.

The food on the table is labeled as follows:

  • fish- Minister to France
  • soup tureen behind the fish- Secretary Legation
  • bowl- Post Offices
  • hogs head- Minister to Germany
  • ribs behind hog- Minister to Great Britain
  • the three tier dish behind that holds rolls labeled- Ministers to Italy, Russia, Spain, China, Brazil, Austria, etc., and Consuls. to Rome, Berlin, Nice, Dublin, etc.

The gentlemen coming in the door include James G. Blaine, of Maine; he is the one sneaking in the back with the top hat on.

After reading the above information can you answer the following questions?

  1. Who is the man standing behind the bar, and why would he be pictured right behind President Harrison?
  2. What jobs need to be filled?
  3. Why are the men on the right pushing and clamoring to approach Harrison?
  4. Why is a table of food used to symbolize the cabinet offices?
  5. Why would titles like "Minister to France" be represented by food?
  6. Why is Harrison's hand up and why did the artist draw it so large?
  7. What group is represented by the crowd of men coming through the door?

Answers

  1. The man is Levi P. Morton of New York. He was Harrison's Vice President.
  2. Ministers to foreign countries, post office positions, etc. See description under picture of jobs listed on
  3. the food.
  4. They are competing and demanding appointments to the cabinet and other offices.
  5. The food symbolizes services of the government to the people.
  6. Political favors and appointments are sometimes refered to as "Pork- Barrel Politics".
  7. Harrison's hand is up as if to say: Stop! I am in control of this! The artist purposely drew it large to show that
  8. Harrison was the boss.
  9. They represent the Republican Party establishment.

On your own, you might want to find out more about James G. Blaine and other politicians from the 1888 period.