Worcester Women's History Project

Who's to Be President?

Who's to Be President? By a Lady. [American Caricatures, The Civil War, 1861-1865, Folder III, American Antiquarian Society, n.d., no attribution - probably Frank Leslie's Budget of Fun, September or October 1864]

[Editorial Note: Woman's rights advocates knew that their opponents would make fun of them. In fact, several speakers at the 1850 Convention argued that ridicule would be their antagonists' principle weapon. The following bit of doggerel is a fair example of the fun made at the expense of woman's suffrage. Leslie's Budget of Fun was perhaps the leading humor magazine of the day. The "Little Mac" of the poem is General George McClellan, one-time commander of the Army of the Potomac who, following his removal from command by Lincoln, pursued a political career and was the Democrat's presidential candidate in 1864. John C. Fremont had been the Republican nominee in 1856. Some who despaired of Lincoln's leadership turned to him in 1864. Copperheads were Democrats who advocated an immediate peace with the South even if that meant recognizing the Confederacy. The "Biddies" the "Lady" is so busy supervising are Irish servants. Biddy was a nickname for Bridget, a name as closely associated with Irish women as Patrick with Irish men.]

Up the famous Hudson River, as I sailed the other day,
About the nominations each person had his say;
Some said I am for Lincoln, for Little Mac some cried,
While others spoke for Fremont, and for Jessie, his fair bride.
As I listened to their speeches, a stranger came to me,
And bowing low said softly, "Dear madam, may I be
So bold as now to ask whom you'd vote for, or wish your husband to?"
He spoke so civilly, I felt an answer was his due,
And so I said, half smiling, "The household's my domain,
To my husband I leave politics, too oft our nation's bane!
I've no time to think of Democrats, or else of Copperheads,
I've to see my Biddies sweep and dust, and cook and make the beds.
But if you really wish to know the man I most admire,
And whom I recommend to husband, son and sire--
It is GOURAUD, whose benefits I never can forget,
And every day but adds to my still increasing debt--
For when my face one summer was freckled, tanned, and bleared,
I used his MEDICATED SOAP, and all soon disappeared;
And when some naughty hairs had grown upon my dimpled chin,
His wondrous POUDRE SUBTILE then made smooth as glass my skin.
I therefore, out of gratitude, most fervently declare
For the President of Fashion--
I SHALL VOTE GOURAUD IN THERE."


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