Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion Revisited

Via The New Republic's blog, The Plank, I stumbled across an electronic version of this 1884 New York Times article which features a (lengthy) retort to Rev. Dr. Samuel Bouchard's "Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion" speech during the 1884 presidential campaign between Grover Cleveland and Maine's James G. Blaine.

The speech, which accuses the Democratic Party of being the party of liquor, Catholics, and Confederates, is said to have cost the Maine Republican Senator James G. Blaine the election, as it alienated a sizable portion of the Catholic vote in New York. Nevertheless, it lives on as one of the most enduring election ditties in American history.

Blaine, by the way, is the inspiration for the naming of the Maine gubernatorial residence, the Blaine House.

- John C.L. Morgan

P.S. The 1884 election was ditty-rich. Besides "Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion," the Republicans exploited the alleged illegitimate child of Grover Cleveland by chanting: "Ma! Ma! Where's my pa? Gone to the White House! Ha, ha, ha!" And Cleveland's Democrats retorted by questioning Blaine's ethics by singing: "Blaine! Blaine! James G. Blaine! The continental liar from the state of Maine!"

If only we could go back to the clean politicking of the good 'ol days. Either that or come up with some catchy sing-along slogans.

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