"The Worship of the Golden Calf"

Keppler frequently used scenes from the Bible to convey his opinions about political candidates; as the most widely- and thoroughly-known set of narratives in the entire Western world, the Book was a gold mine to cartoonists trying to connect with their audiences' imagination. This picture recalls the story of the Jews' worship of a pagan idol in the absence of Moses; the Stalwarts' lack of vision is thus ridiculed because they are shown to be unable to evolve past obsolete religions-- as symbolized by golden calf Grant. Furthermore, the heathens carry on their celebrations in defiance of a sacred law being delivered by Puck as he descends a la Moses from Mount Sinai. In this manner the Stalwarts are likened to Biblical rabble, whose indecent behavior requires a Commandment, THOU SHALT NOT COVET A THIRD TERM, in order to keep them in line.

This cartoon is another example of Grant as a symbol of Stalwart/Republican values, and is probably the most direct in its simultaneous association with depravity. Like "Passional Christi und Antichristi", this image requires little or no interpretation because its literary reference is so pervasive, and the morals attached to it are so clear; in fact, the artist hardly needs to make any distortions to the overall scene in order to make his editorial comments known. As stated elsewhere, the Bible is the earliest and most dominant element of shared public culture, which can be invoked in any popular medium and be understood by all. Playing off of such universal themes is the essence of cartooning's power to unite social groups, and its direction against the Stalwarts in this cartoon is a use the Mugwumps would thoroughly enjoy.