Conkling as Mephistopheles
Unto that Power he doth belong
Which only doeth Right
while ever willing Wrong.
– Goethe's Faust.
Puck Magazine Centerfold
Vol. 1 No. 30, October 3, 1877
12 1/2" w x 18" h
Roscoe Conkling, dressed
as the Mephistopheles, watches Rutherford Hayes walk away with
the Solid South. Conkling has "bought the soul" of the
Republican Party and helped elect Hayes as President.
Conkling was a Republican Senator who helped create
the Electoral Commission that settled the disputed 1876 U.S. Presidential
Hayes was ultimately elected to office through the Compromise of 1877,
a series of secret negotiations between Republican and Democratic politicians
and special interest groups. Key to the negotiations was the removal of
federal troops that supported the state governments of South Carolina,
Florida and Louisiana.
withdrawing the toops, the Republicans ended Reconstruction and abandoned
Southern African-Americans, creating an opportunity for Democrats – and
white supremacists – to control the South.