|"Good-Bye—and Howdy" by Wm. C. Morris for Geo. Matthew Adams Service, ca. March 4, 1921|
100 years ago this week, the second most corrupt presidential administration in U.S. history was sworn into office.
|"Good Luck, Old Man" by J.N. "Ding" Darling in New York Tribune, March 4, 1921|
Of course, nobody could foresee the rot that would lead to the Teapot Dome Scandal (unlike Donald Trump's complete and utter lack of ethics and responsibility, which were well in evidence long before he rode down the escalator), so most editorial cartoonists welcomed the new administration into office. "Ding" Darling, while a loyal Republican, had drawn his disapproval of Warren Harding during the campaign; but there is no trace of that in his Inauguration Day cartoon.
|"He Should Worry About Eviction" by J.N. "Ding" Darling in Collier's, February 26, 1921|
Conversely, Ding had offered a less than dignified send-off in Collier's magazine for the departing President Woodrow Wilson.
|"Good Luck and Best Wishes" by Bob Satterfield for Newspaper Enterprise Assn., ca. March 4, 1921|
So anyway, there were plenty of cartoons of Uncle Sam wishing the new president luck. I could re-post Clifford Berryman's sycophantic March 4 cartoon again today, but frankly, it wouldn't add much to the conversation.
|"Exit the Donk" by Carey Orr in Chicago Tribune, March 3, 1921|
For their part, partisan Republicans such as Carey Orr were especially gleeful.
|"The Dawn of a New Day" by Carey Orr in Chicago Tribune, March 4, 1921|
To hear Republicans of the day, you would think that the Wilson administration had seen eight bleak years of depression and hopelessness as Mr. Wilson spent the whole time in Europe ignoring the utter collapse of the republic at home. You can fault Wilson for cozying up to racist segregationists and persecuting socialists, but I hardly think those were criticisms Mr. Orr gave one whit about.
|"At Last, After Eight Years..." by Leo Bushnell for Central Press Assn., ca. March 3, 1921|
No, for the most part, the change from Democratic government to Republican government was of interest solely to the committed partisans on either side. Hiram and Frank might have needled each other at the feed store, but well before March 4, neither one still had Cox, Harding, or Wilson For President flags still waving in front of their home.
|"A New Brand" by Leo Bushnell for Central Press Assn., ca. March 4, 1921|
This must be a slightly less snotty way of saying "Put that in your pipe and smoke it." Do the kids still say that these days? As an aPOThecary reference, I suppose.
|"The New Partner" by Wilson in Farmington (MO) Times, March 4, 1921|
|"Der Neue Mann im Weissen Haus" by Arthur Johnson in Kladderadatsch, Berlin, March 6, 1921|
Across the pond, the German press, upset over the punitive postwar punishment insisted upon by France and the Wilson administration's helplessness to do anything about it, hoped for a better deal from the New Man in the White House.
|"His Legacy" by Leo Bushnell for Central Press Assn., ca. March 5, 1921|
But Harding had little interest in European affairs, Leo Bushnell's cartoon here notwithstanding. He left a lot of the foreign policy decision-making to his Secretary of State, Charles Evans Hughes, who nevertheless could not convince him to let the U.S. join the League of Nations or the Permanent Court of International Justice.
The U.S. would, however, sign a separate peace with Germany in August.
|in New York Evening World, March 4, 1921|
Lest I leave you with the impression that there was unanimous relief at the end of the Wilson era, here's the cartoon Democrat-leaning cartoonist John Cassel had published on Inauguration Day, lauding the retiring president for his efforts to bring peace to the universe.
|in New York Evening World, March 7, 1921|
All the same, Cassel's first Harding cartoon during the new administration lacked the animus Cassel had leveled at Harding during the election campaign.
|"Being So Long Accustomed to the Hammer..." by Nelson Harding in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 4, 1921|