Political game of brag. Shew of hands
The artist resorts to the familiar metaphor of a card game for the presidential stakes in his rendition of the 1848 contest. The major contenders play a game of "brag" (an early form of poker). Around the table sit six players (left to right): South Carolina senator John Calhoun, Democratic presidential nominee Lewis Cass, Henry Clay, Whig candidate Zachary Taylor, Secretary of State James Buchanan, and President James K. Polk. In the center of the table is the "Presidential Ante." Displaying three aces, former Mexican War general Taylor exclaims, "Three bullets, Clay! Still at my old trade! whenever bullets are to be met I am sure to have a hand with them!" Clay, who holds three low cards behind his back, replies, "I tried my old bluffing game with a contented hand & nothing to brag with but a hand full of hearts! I'm not sorry however that old Zach has won!" Seated to the left Cass laments, "Three braggers, Calhoun, would'n't carry me through!" Calhoun, looking over Cass's shoulder agrees, "No, Cass, the Ante is too high for you! You'll have to play for smaller Stakes!" At the far right end of the table, Polk exclaims, "My knave hand, Buchanan, has lost me the game! I may as well slope!" Buchanan replies, "By Jove! Polk, Old Zack's got the documents! three natties!" The satire probably appeared shortly after the June Whig convention, at which Taylor was nominated over Henry Clay, and before the emergence of strong third-party candidate Martin Van Buren.
Published by Andrew Donnelly. Sold wholesale and retail at the Book-stand Wall Street, near the N.Y. Custom House.
Signed with monogram: C (Edward Williams Clay).
Title appears as it is written on the item.
Davison, no. 200.
Weitenkampf, p. 96.
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 1848-30.
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."
Zachary Taylor was the 12th President of the United States, serving from March 1849 until his death in July 1850. Before his presidency, Taylor was a career officer in the United States Army, rising to the rank of major general. Zachary Taylor was a national hero in the United States Army from the time of the Mexican-American War and the War of 1812. "I have always done my duty. I am ready to die. My only regret is for the friends I leave behind me."
Glimpses of U.S. political campaigns in magazine covers and satire.
President James K. PolkJames K. Polk was the 11th President of the United States from 1845 to 1849, the last strong pre-Civil War president.
President Zachary TaylorZachary Taylor was the 12th President of the United States, serving from March 1849 until his death in July 1850
U.S. Political CampaignsGlimpses of U.S. political campaigns in magazine covers and satire.