Music played once: The White House Chair (1856) by Stephen Collins Foster,
courtesy Benjamin Robert Tubb
. (Lyrics and sheet music images appear below.)


1856 - US presidential race songs


Find an essay on the role of songs in US Presidential election campaigns, including 1856, here, a second here and a third here. Popular (European-derived) musical forms include schottisch, polka and waltz.

Non-partisan 1856 election instrumentals

Buchanan songs
Freemont songs
Fillmore songs


Buchanan songs

Buchanan 1856 sheet music images (Lester S. Levy Collection) - 2 items as of June 2006

Buchanan 1856 sheet music images (Library of Congress American Memory collection) - 4 items as of August 2006

Famed songwriter Stephen Collins Foster - whose sister married the brother of 1856 presidential candidate James Buchanan - was a devoted supporter of Buchanan, a fellow Pennsylvania Democrat. Two of the three songs he wrote in 1856 (shown immediately below) were political songs supporting Buchanan and attacking opponents like (slavery) Abolitionists.



The White House Chair

Come all ye men of every state, Our creed is broad and fair; Buchanan is our candidate, And we'll put him in the White House Chair. chorus: Then come ye men from ev'ry state, Our creed is broad and fair; Buchanan is our candidate, And we'll put him in the White House Chair. Let all our hearts for union be, For the North and South are one; They've worked together manfully, And together they will still work on. We'll have no dark designing band To rule with secret sway; We'll give to all a helping hand, And be open as the light of day. We'll not outlaw the land that holds The bones of Washington; Where Jackson fought and Marion bled, And the battles of the brave were won.
text source

sheet music images

MIDI audio


The Abolition Show (The Great Baby Show)

On the seventeenth day of September you know, Took place in our city the great baby show; They shut up the factories and let out the schools, For the Seventeenth day was the day of all fools. chorus: Sing tu ral lala lu ral lal lu rall lal lay, Sing tu ral lala lu ral lal lu rall lal lay, Sing tu ral lala lu ral lal lu rall lal lay, Sing tu ral lala lu ral lal lu rall lal lay, They made a procession of wagons and boats, Of raccoons and oxen (they all have their votes) Sledge hammers, triangles and carpenter's tools, One thousand and eight hundred horses and mules. They had gemmen ob color join in their games And jokers and clowns of all ages and names They had pop guns and tin pans and all kinds of toys And a very fine party of women and boys. They had young men on horse back, so nice and so gay Aged Seventeen years on this Seventeenth day, And the ladies all thought they were bold cavaliers These bright looking lads aged seventeen years. They had grim border-ruffians, I'll bring to your mind, And they've plenty more left of the very same kind, They drank from a flask and played cards on the way, And the children looked on, on this Seventeenth day. They had Ohio Yankees of Western Reserve Who live upon cheese, ginger cakes and preserve, Abolition's their doctrine their rod and their staff, And they'll fight for a sixpence an hour and a half. Now was it not kind in these good simple clowns To amuse all the children in both of our towns To shut up their work shops and spend so much money To black up their faces, get tight and be funny. They called it a council of freemen you know But I told you before 'twas a great baby show, For when they had met they had nothing to say But "Poor Bleeding Kansas" and "Ten Cents A Day". Then their ship Constitution was hauled through the street With sixteen small guns she was armed compleat But the brave ship of State by which Democrats stand Carries thirty-one guns with old Buck in command. In the year '45 when the fire laid us waste Old Buck gave us five hundred dollars in haste They then took his money and lauded his name But he's now "Ten cent Jimmy", their banners proclaim.
text source

sheet music images (transmitted March 11, 1857)

MIDI audio




Buchanan and John Breckenridge

Come all ye men, from every state, Our creed is broad and fair; Buchanan is our candidate To take the White House chair. For there is balm in Gilead, We hear the people say; Buchanan and John Breckenridge Will surely win the day! Come all ye Democrats! Hear the people say; Buchanan and John Breckenridge Will surely win the day! We'll turn our backs on Fremont, For his principles endorse; A wooly-headed platform, Upon a wooly horse. But let our hearts for Union be, The North and South be one! They've worked together manfully, Together, they'll work on. Come all ye Democrats! Hear the people say; Buchanan and John Breckenridge Will surely win the day! (lyrics continue)
MP3 audio of beginning portion
Search here for Buchanan and click on link to hear audio of subsequent portion.
(You can buy the entire recording here or here.)


Fremont songs

Fremont "Campaign Songster" book image

Fremont 1856 sheet music images (Lester S. Levy Collection) - 7 items (and 1 duplicate item) as of June 2006

Fremont 1856 sheet music images (Library of Congress American Memory collection) - 3 items as of August 2006

The Campaign of 1856.
Fremont Songs for the People.
Boston: John P. Jewett, 1856.

Lyrics and streamed Real Media audio

Streamed/podcast Real Media audio

Two of the many songs cited above are shown immediately below



John Fremont's Coming

(to the tune of Old Dan Tucker) Come, let's sing a song quite jolly, For an end to reign of folly; Frank Pierce's jig is nearly up, Though full bitter he's filled our cup. chorus: Clear the track! Clear the track! Clear the track! John Fremont's coming, Clear the track! Clear the track! And he'll send the 'brascals humming! Those foul deeds on the plains of Kansas Have been enough to raise our "danders." There we'll plant bright freedom's standard, And have a man to lead the vanguard. We can't trust to James Buchanan, Quick we haste to "spike the cannon," Which "roared like sucking dove" at Ostend, To make squabbles having no end. Old Buck's pledged to Pierce and Douglas, To the villany in Kansas; On their work we'll put a stopper, And we'll "send them all to Joppa."
streamed RealMedia audio


Uncle James

(to the tune of Uncle Ned) There was an old gentleman whose name was James; He was born long ago, long ago; He may, to be sure, have had some other names, Which I don't happen to know. chorus: Then lay down the fiddle and the bow-oh-oh, Take up the shovel and the hoe, And we'll dig a big hole for old Uncle James, And bury him deep and low. In the Federal ranks, long time he stood, And once he was heard to shout That if he'd a drop of Democratic blood, He'd be glad to let it out. To Ostend once went this very old man, And this honest scheme did reveal - “We'll buy Spain's daugher, Cuba if we can, And what we can't buy we'll steal. And when he'd grown old, his partisans thought They'd take Uncle James by the nose, And put him up in a fight they fought, With slavery's host of foes. But poor Uncle James was too old to fight, And too old to run away, So Uncle James woke one morning bright, And found he had lost the day.
streamed RealMedia audio


The Fremont Train

Fremont train is got along, Just jump aboard ye foes of wrong! Our train is bound for Washington, Carries freedom's bravest son. Clear the track, Fillibusters! Now's no time for threats and blusters! Clear the track, 'ere you dream on't, You'll beneath the car of Fremont. Now don't you see? We've just the man, To meet the foe, for you can Brave torrents wild, mountain snows, Fear no Brooks or Southern blows; Clear the track, you Fillibusters! Now's no time for threats and blusters! Clear the track, or 'ere you dream on't, You'll beneath the car of Fremont. So jump aboard the Fremont train, And soon the capitol we'll gain; Then we'll rejoice as one in power, Who never will to slavery cower. Clear the track, Fillibusters! Now's no time for threats and blusters! Clear the track, or 'ere you dream on't, You'll beneath the car of Fremont. (lyrics continue)
MP3 audio of beginning portion
Search here for Come Raise The Banner (sic.) and click on the link to hear audio of subsequent portion.
(You can buy the entire recording here or here. N.B. Be cautious about potential title mislabeling of the individual song.)


Fillmore songs

Fillmore 1856 sheet music images (Lester S. Levy Collection) - 3 items (and 1 duplicate item) as of June 2006

Fillmore 1856 sheet music images (Library of Congress American Memory collection) - 3 items as of August 2006

Know-Nothing-related sheet music images (Library of Congress American Memory collection) - 6 items (and 4 duplicate items) as of August 2006. Included is one anti-Know-Nothing song, and one pro-Know-Nothing song, the rest being Know-Nothing instrumentals.




The Union Wagon

There's right and wrong in parties, And the right is on our side; So mount the Fillmore wagon, And through the nation ride! The Union is our wagon, The people are its springs; And every true A-mer-i-can, For Millard Fillmore sings! Wait for the wagon, The Millard Fillmore wagon; Wait for the wagon, And we'll all take a ride! Our wagon is a noble one, 'Twas made in seventy-six; 'Twas driven by George Wash-ing-ton, Through stormy pol-i-tics! Palmetto, cypress, cottonwood, in spokes and wheels you'll find; Western oak and Eastern pine, and Northern ash com-bined! Wait for the wagon, The Millard Fillmore wagon; Wait for the wagon, And we'll all take a ride! In this our glorious wagon, With Donelson beside... (lyrics continue)
MP3 audio of beginning portion
Search here for Fillmore and click on link to to hear audio of subsequent portion.
(You can buy the entire recording here or here.)



A Few Days

... He'll have the White House yonder, In a few days... a few days; He'll have the White House yonder, In a few days. ... He'll have the White House yonder, In a few days... a few days; He'll have the White House yonder, Fillmore's going home! ...