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Campaign Songs for Grant’s Opponents

In the nineteenth-century, most voters got to know candidates through photographs and engravings; therefore, images on sheet music were chosen for their popular appeal. Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885) entered the 1868 race as a Civil War hero; his Democratic opponent Horatio Seymour (1810–1886) not only had no war record but had openly criticized Lincoln’s war policies. Therefore on this cover, Seymour’s running mate, Francis Preston Blair, Jr., (1821–1875), a Union general, was depicted in uniform, as Grant usually was shown.

Despite charges of corruption in his administration, Grant was re-nominated in 1872. His opponent was Horace Greeley (1811–1872), founder and editor of the New York Tribune. The song, “Horace and No Relations,” pointedly referred to charges against Grant for naming family members to government positions. Yet even though Greeley had the endorsement of the Liberal Republicans and the Democrats, he and his running mate Benjamin Brown proved no match for the Republican incumbent.

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Campaign Marches from 1876 and 1880

In 1876, Samuel Tilden (1814–1886) lost to Republican Rutherford B. Hayes (1822–1893). During the campaign, supporters of Tilden and running mate Thomas Hendricks (1819–1885) promoted them with this “Grand March.” In addition to being a memento of their candidacy, this sheet music was made available in arrangements for military band, orchestra, and chorus, and demonstrates the public use of campaign music. If the music was purchased with a plain title page rather than this engraved one, its price was lower.

Although Winfield Scott Hancock’s name had been proposed for candidacy several times, he did not receive enough support to run as the Democratic nominee until 1880. Campaigning against James A. Garfield, Hancock (1824–1886) was protected from virulent Republican attack because of his heroism during the Civil War, particularly during the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Identified as “General” and depicted in the same pose in which he had appeared when in uniform. Hancock is shown so that no voter could fail to recognize him.

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  • William P. Adams. “Tilden and Hendricks Grand March.” New York: Wm. A. Ponds & Co., 1876. Music Division, Library of Congress (14)

  • Wm. Disch, music, and Mrs. W. Disch, words. “Campaign March and Chorus to Genl. Hancock.” New York: S.T. Gordon, 1880. Music Division, Library of Congress (15)

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