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Political cock fighters. Book illustration from Library of Congress

Political cock fighters. Book illustration from Library of Congress

description

Summary

A figurative portrayal of the 1844 presidential contest as a cock-fight, in which Whig candidate Henry Clay prevails. Clay and Democratic opponent Polk battle in a pit or ring as several prominent political figures look on. The Polk bird is obviously waning, having lost many of its feathers. Clay crows, "Cock a doodle doo doo." Outside the ring some of the spectators comment on the action. Daniel Webster (far left) says: "I'll bet one of my best Chowders on the Kentucky Rooster [i.e., Clay]." Beside him Clay's running-mate Theodore Frelinghuysen watches silently. Disappointed Democratic aspirant Martin Van Buren (center) remarks, "They rejected me, let them look to their Champion!" Beside Van Buren stand (left to right) prominent Democrats John C. Calhoun, Thomas Hart Benton, Andrew Jackson, and an unidentified fourth man. Jackson comments, "By the Eternal! I doubt the pluck of that Cock from Tenessee [i.e. Tennessee]" [Polk], if he does "go for Texas."
Entered . . . 1844 by James Baillie.
Lith. & pub. by James Baillie 33 Spruce St. N.Y.
Signed with monogram: H.B. (H. Bucholzer).
The Library's impression was deposited for copyright on June 26, 1844.
Title appears as it is written on the item.
Hess and Kaplan, p. 12.
Weitenkampf, p. 79.
Forms part of: American cartoon print filing series (Library of Congress)
Published in: American political prints, 1766-1876 / Bernard F. Reilly. Boston : G.K. Hall, 1991, entry 1844-25.

Martin Van Buren was the eighth President of the United States (1837-1841), after serving as the eighth Vice President and the tenth Secretary of State, both under President Andrew Jackson. While the country was prosperous when the "Little Magician" was elected, less than three months later the financial panic of 1837 punctured the prosperity. A member of the Democratic Party, he served in a number of senior roles, including eighth Vice President (1833–37) and tenth Secretary of State (1829–31), both under Andrew Jackson. Van Buren's inability as president to deal with the economic chaos of the Panic of 1837 and with the surging Whig Party led to his defeat in the 1840 election. "The less government interferes with private pursuits, the better for general prosperity."

Polk was born in North Carolina. He later lived in and represented Tennessee. A Democrat, Polk served as the Speaker of the House of Representatives and Governor of Tennessee. Polk was the dark horse candidate for president in 1844, defeating Henry Clay of the rival Whig Party by promising to annex the Republic of Texas. Under President Polk vast areas were added to the United States. During his 1845–49 presidency, Polk led the nation to a victory in the Mexican–American War, seizing nearly the whole of what is now the American Southwest. He threatened war with the United Kingdom over the issue of Oregon Country ownership, eventually reaching a settlement in which the British were made to sell the portion that became the Oregon Territory. He built a treasury system that lasted until 1913, oversaw the opening of the U.S. Naval Academy and of the Smithsonian Institution, the groundbreaking for the Washington Monument, and the issuance of the first United States postage stamp. True to his campaign pledge to serve only one term as President, Polk left office and returned to Tennessee in March 1849. He died of cholera three months later. "One great object of the Constitution was to restrain majorities from oppressing minorities or encroaching upon their just rights."

Glimpses of U.S. political campaigns in magazine covers and satire.

date_range

Date

01/01/1844
person

Contributors

Baillie, James S., active 1838-1855.
Bucholzer, H.
place

Location

create

Source

Library of Congress
copyright

Copyright info

No known restrictions on publication.

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calhoun john c
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jackson andrew
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polk james k
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van buren martin
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