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"This is the house that Jack built . . ."

"This is the house that Jack built . . ."



Caricature shows Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, Francis Blair, William J. Duane, and others, with various animals.
A crudely-drawn, anonymous satire on the Jackson Administration, alleging political intrigue behind Jackson's September 1833 decision to remove federal deposits from the Bank of the United States. The cartoon adapts the nursery rhyme "The House that Jack built," portraying the Kitchen Cabinet (the derisive name given Jackson's informal circle of influential advisors) as rats "that eat the malt that lay in the house that Jack built" -- the malt being "The public Deposits." (For an earlier use of the same rhyme see "Parody. 605,000 Sour Grapes," no. 1820-1.) The view is framed by a colonnade, with the columns of the Bank visible at left. Between each pair of columns is a character from the nursery rhyme. Treasury Secretary William J. Duane is the cat "That caught the rats," possibly referring to Duane's opposition to Jackson's plan for removal of the deposits. Jackson, the dog "That worried the Cat," sits on a strong box with a key hanging from his neck. (Jackson dismissed Duane from his post for his intransigence on the Bank issue on September 23, 1833). The Senate is the cow "with the crumpled horn that tossed the dog" referring the stiff opposition Jackson's measures later met from the Senate. "The honorable ******" (possibly Silas Wright, Van Buren ally and staunch advocate of Jackson's bank policies in Congress, or Richard M. Johnson, Van Buren's 1836 vice-presidential running-mate) as the maiden "all forlorn, That milked the Cow" and was kissed by "the man all tattered and torn," Vice-President Martin Van Buren. Van Buren stands before a grandfather clock with a figure of Pan holding a fiddle, symbolizing chaos and turmoil. Newspaper editor and Jackson supporter Francis Preston Blair is the priest "That married the man, all tattered and torn, unto the Maiden all forlorn." Major Jack Downing, portrayed as a soldier with the head of a rooster and holding a flag reading "Jackson & Glory," is the cock "That crowed in the morn, and soured the priest..." In the foreground left, below the Jackson/dog figure, a boar tears apart the Constitution. The artist here echoes charges that Jackson exceeded his legitimate presidential authority in his removal order. The print was probably issued late in 1833, after Duane's dismissal by Jackson, and before the former sank from national visibility altogether. It may date from as late as the first half of 1834, when public debate about Jackson's removal action raged in the Senate.
Narrow margins; no title. Title based on Weitenkampf.
Weitenkampf describes two similar cartoons, based on the same nursery rhyme. In one version, drawn by E.W. Clay and published in 1834, the maiden carries a pail marked "Vice President Office," and curiously (as in the present print) her face is averted from view.
Murrell, p. 149-152 (Clay version).
Weitenkampf, p. 34-35.
Purchase; Caroline and Erwin Swann Memorial Fund.
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 1833-6.

Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States from 1829 to 1837, seeking to act as the direct representative of the common man. "I have always been afraid of banks."

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."

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