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“Farmer Garfield: Cutting a Swath to the White House” Campaign Poster, 1880

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James Garfield, who was running for Republican nominee for president, is depicted in the cartoon as a farmer in a wheat field.
Courtesy of Library of Congress, Currier & Ives, New York, 1880


James A. Garfield, Republican candidate for president in 1880, is depicted as a farmer in his wheat field using a scythe to clear his wheat field of both weeds and dangerous snakes. His "scythe" holds the words honesty, ability and patriotism, as he swipes at the "weeds" of calumny, falsehood, fraud, venom, hatred, defamation and malice. 

Source-Dependent Questions

  • Based on the specific imagery used in the drawing, describe the kind of person and candidate the artist believes James A. Garfield to be.
  • How does the portrayal of Garfield contrast with that of his opponents in the poster?
  • What about this campaign poster would resonate with voters today?

Citation Information 

"Farmer Garfield: Cutting a Swath to the White House," Currier & Ives, New York, 1880. Courtesy of Library of Congress