When George and Ira Gershwin presented their Broadway musical Let ‘Em Eat Cake in 1933, they could not know how real their satirical story of civil disorder would feel to later Americans. After losing re-election, President Wintergreen asks the Supreme Court to overturn the election results. The Court declines, and duly elected president John P. Tweedledee takes office. But Wintergreen and his vice president, Throttlebottom, propagate a revolution in the name of freedom, invoking the American War of Independence. When the military takes their side, Wintergreen returns to office as a dictator. In the end, order of a slightly more democratic kind is restored after a baseball match that pits the Supreme Court against the League of Nations.
George Gershwin (1898–1937), Let ‘Em Eat Cake, “Wintergreen for President,” autograph manuscript,ca.1933. Mary Flagler Cary Music Collection, 1980.