“The seven stages of the office seeker,” by Edward Williams Clay (artist) and John Childs (lithographer).
Image and text from the Library of Congress:
A satire on patronage and corruption in New York State politics, based on the medieval theme, perpetuated in American folk art, of the “life and ages of man.”
Here the seven stages are illustrated as key points in the life and career of a political hack.
At each stage the figure occupies a different step of a pyramid, under which is shown his metaphorical counterpart in the animal kingdom. According to Prof. Elizabeth Sears, the compositional device of a stepped pyramid is used in this context as early as the sixteenth century. Here, the author gives a corresponding epigram for each stage.
The artist, Edward Williams Clay, a Whig, appears to incorporate in his rendition of the theme an indictment of the patronage policies of the Democrats in New York, controlled almost continuously since 1828 by presidents loyal to that party. Former Democratic governor of New York and later president Martin Van Buren appears as “the Governor” in vignette number three, “Begging for Office.”
Under Van Buren’s administration, the Custom House, here the office seeker’s center of power, was the focus of Democratic corruption in New York City.
The seven stages proceed from left to right.
1. “Treating” – the candidate in a saloon toasts supporters. “He proves to thirsty loafers he’s the man, / And drowns their judgment in the flowing can.” Below, a fox eyes a cock on a fence.
2. “Stumping” – the candidate is surrounded by supporters, before a banner “Regular Nominations” and a weather vane crowned by a liberty cap. “Then on the Stump he takes his station, / The purest patriot in the nation.” Below, a fox at a lectern or pulpit is cheered by geese.
3. “Begging for Office” – “Next we see him stand before the Govenor’s face, / And crouching like a spaniel for a place.” A begging dog appears below.
4. “In Office” – The candidate strides past the U.S. Custom House oblivious of two supplicant gentlemen. “His object gained, he spurns the common herd, / Nor deigns to applicants a single word.” Here is portrayed a turkey in full plumage, two rural cottages beyond.
5. “Out of Office” – Hands in pockets he walks in a storm. “But now alas! are Fortune’s favors fled; / Too lazy grown he scorns to work for bread.” Below appears a scrawny dog in a barren landscape.
6. “Exit” – The office seeker hangs from a tree. “A hanger on, twas thus his life he past. / And ends his days by hanging on at last.” Below are a skull and crossbones and a carriage bound for “Potter’s Field.”
7. “Coroner’s Inquest” – “Now twelve wise men, accounting for his death, / Show how a rope may stop a mortal’s breath.” Several men in an interior ponder the unfortunate’s body. Below, a group of owls crowd around a dead horse.
STAND WITH HILLARY: PART 2 (Arkansas Badonkadonk)
- Crony Capitalism / Rent-Seeking / Corporate Welfare / Revolving Door (CongressionalGlossary.com)
- K Street / Gucci Gulch (CongressionalGlossary.com)
- Campaigns and Elections: Heaven and Hell Edition
- In Washington, a divided America is good for business.
- “Geithner and the ‘Privilege’ of Being American,” by Lawrence Lindsey, The Wall Street Journal, February 29, 2012
- Tammany Hall
- List of federal political scandals in the United States – Wikipedia
- Revolving Door – from Open Secrets
- Corruption Chronicles – from Judicial Watch
- “Who Owns Congress? A Campaign Cash Seating Chart,” MotherJones, September/October 2010
- Wealth of Congress – Roll Call
- “Who Owns Congress?” by Barry Ritholtz, December 19, 2013
- “Prosecution of Public Corruption: An Overview of Amendments Under H.R. 2572 and S. 401,” CRS Report R42016 (29-page PDF)
Remy: Hallelujah (SNL Parody)
- Congressional Operations Briefing – Capitol Hill Workshop
- Drafting Federal Legislation and Amendments
- Writing for Government and Business: Critical Thinking and Writing
- Custom, On-Site Training
- Preparing and Delivering Congressional Testimony and Oral Presentations, a Five-Course series on CD
- Congress, the Legislative Process, and the Fundamentals of Lawmaking Series, a Nine-Course series on CD
Anthony Weiner (D-NY) sentenced to prison
Anthony Weiner (D-NY), GovTrack
FBI failed to review hundreds of thousands of emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop: Report
Testifying Before Congress
Citizen’s Handbook to Influencing Elected Officials: A Guide for Citizen Lobbyists and Grassroots Advocates
CongressionalGlossary.com, from TheCapitol.Net
For more than 40 years, TheCapitol.Net and its predecessor, Congressional Quarterly Executive Conferences, have been teaching professionals from government, military, business, and NGOs about the dynamics and operations of the legislative and executive branches and how to work with them.
Our custom on-site and online training, publications, and audio courses include congressional operations, legislative and budget process, communication and advocacy, media and public relations, testifying before Congress, research skills, legislative drafting, critical thinking and writing, and more.
TheCapitol.Net is on the GSA Schedule, MAS, for custom on-site and online training. GSA Contract GS02F0192X
TheCapitol.Net is a non-partisan small business.
Teaching how Washington and Congress work ™