Saturday, April 10, 2010

Millard Fillmore, Enslaver of the Proletariat?

Millard Fillmore was called many things. In 1848, for example, he was accused of being an abolitionist. But this is a new one on me: Anthony Gene Carey reports that
[Georgia] Democrats . . . spread rumors in 1856 that if Millard Fillmore were elected president, his supporters planned to erect "all over our country Cotton Factories, and all poor men who do not own land, with their wives and children, . . . will be forced to go to work in these Factories for TEN CENTS a day!"
The accompanying endnote indicates that the quote appeared in the August 3, 1856 edition of the Augusta Chronicle & Sentinel.

About the illustration, entitled "Buck" taking the "Pot":
A pro-Buchanan satire, critical of the divisive or sectionalist appeal of the other two presidential contenders in the 1856 race. "Buck" or Buchanan (left) has evidently won a card game over Fremont (fallen at right) and Millard Fillmore (at right, blindfolded). Holding four aces and a large cauldron of "Union Soup" Buchanan vows, "I have fairly beaten them at their own game, and now that I have became possessed of this great "Reservoir" I will see that each and Every State of this great and glorious Union receives its proper Share of this sacred food." Fremont has tripped over a "Rock of Disunion" and fallen to the ground, still holding his large spoon "Abolition." He laments, "Oh, that I had been born a dog!--This is too much for mortal man to bear. Had I not stumbled over that "Blasted" rock I might have reached the fount of my ambition and with this good ladle 'Deal' to the North, and leave the South to 'Shuffle & Cut' off their mortal coil, by starvation, I shall have to 'Pass'!" Behind Fremont, Fillmore wanders blindfolded, holding a Know Nothing lantern (reflecting his party's nativist affiliation) and a spoon. He despairs, "I regret to say that 'Going It Blind' is a loosing Game, I did hope that I would be able to dip my spoon in the Pot without much difficulty.--My Hand is played out--'Buck' wins, and I am satisfied--Four aces can't be beat! and Buck holds them."

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