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File:1848 United States Free Soil van Buren cartoon.jpg

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


An 1848 caricature cartoon on the U.S. presidential race, supporting the Free Soil Party candidacy of Martin van Buren. The Free Soil Party was a strong third party that year, which firmly rejected any expansion of slavery into territories conquered in the Mexican War. The major-party candidates -- Democrat Lewis Cass of Michigan and Whig Gen. Zachary Taylor -- stand at left, confessing their shortcomings, while Van Buren (holding the U.S. Constitution) stands at right with the "Goddess of Liberty". In the middle are a number of other prominent political figures of the day, depicted negatively (except for Van Buren's son). The Library of Congress notes copied below explain the cartoon from right to left, but it was more probably intended to be read from left to right.

  • Title: Can you rest one hand on the sacred altar of Liberty, and with the other extend the domain of the darkest curse ...
  • Other Title: Federal pap! Cass - Taylor - Cresswell - Propaganda: Corning - Dickenson - Foster - John Van Buren - Martin Van Buren - Goddess of Liberty
  • Creator(s): N. Currier (Firm),
  • Date Created/Published: [New York] : Pub. by Peter Smith [i.e., Nathaniel Currier], 2 Spruce St., N.Y., c1848.
  • Medium: 1 print on wove paper : lithograph ; image 29.8 x 42.9 cm.
  • Summary: A strongly pro-Van Buren cartoon, espousing the antislavery platform of the Free Soil party and condemning Whigs and conservative Democrats alike. The artist also reflects the lingering bitterness among many Democrats over the death in 1848 of former Democratic governor of New York Silas Wright. Wright's death was widely considered the result of pressures exerted on him by the federal patronage apparatus under President James K. Polk. On the right stand (right to left) Liberty, Martin Van Buren, and his son John Van Buren. Liberty, here a gowned female holding a staff and Phrygian cap, says to the elder Van Buren: "Freedom's battle once begun, / Bequeathed from bleeding sire to son, / Though baffled oft is ever won." Van Buren holds the Constitution and rests one hand on a pedestal marked with his own name and those of Washington, Jefferson, and Jackson. His son John points to the coffin of Silas Wright at his feet, saying, "The blow that was aimed at a living statesman fell upon his new grave, the creature who sought to be an assassin was, by an inscrutable dispensation, converted into a jackall." The coffin is inscribed "Justice is the emblem of our Government, and her light is truth." Nearby, the jackal "Propaganda" paws at a grave. In the center stands Albany editor Edwin Croswell near a large sow with a Negro's head, labeled "Federal Pap." Several piglets surround her hoping to feed, including Erastus D. Corning and New York senators Daniel S. Dickinson and Henry Allen Foster. Croswell: "More money! Canal Bank's broke! Damn it Corning, the people have found us out. They're all Barnburners--Matty's their next President, and we're used up! Oh dear!!" Corning: "Oh no. Croswell, here's the cash. Abuse Van Buren; call him a traitor." Dickinson: "O carry me back to old Virginny." Sow: "Talk about glory. Gull the doughfaces. If they resist the extension of Slavery, threaten the Union. We don't care, we must have a market for our property." On the left stand presidential candidates Lewis Cass and Zachary Taylor. Cass laments, "Confound them nigger drivers--Prince John [i.e., Van Buren] was right, They've got my soul and sent my body home by the lakes; now even Croswell can't save me." Taylor muses, "Van Buren is the greatest Statesman of the age; but I'll keep still and may be elected yet." Below the picture is an extract from an antislavery speech by Daniel Washburn at the Utica convention in June 1848: "Can you rest one hand on the sacred altar of Liberty, and with the other extend the domain of the darkest curse that a righteous heaven permits on earth? Every impulse of humanity revolts at the idea. The trials and struggles of our patriot fathers, the blood and agony of their battlefields, a thousand witnesses of the blight and desolation of Bondage on a virgin soil, and thronging Millions from distant shores seeking a Free Land for their Free labor, utter an awful and undying protest!"
  • Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-10487 (b&w film copy neg.) LC-DIG-pga-04821 (digital file from original item)
  • Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.
  • Call Number: PGA - Currier & Ives--Federal pap... (B size) [P&P]
  • Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
  • Notes:
    • Title from item.
    • "Entered ... 1848 by P. Smith ..."
    • The Library's impression of the print was received for copyright deposit on August 12, 1848.
    • Currier & Ives : a catalogue raisonné / compiled by Gale Research. Detroit, MI : Gale Research, c1983, no. 2105 (Under title: Federal pap...)
    • Weitenkampf, p. 92
    • Published in: American political prints, 1766-1876 / Bernard F. Reilly. Boston : G.K. Hall, 1991, entry 1848-50.
  • Subjects:
    • Barnburner Democrats.
    • Corning, Erastus D.
    • Cass, Lewis, as presidential candidate.
    • Constitution (pictured).
    • Dickinson, Daniel S.
    • Croswell, Edwin.
    • Foster, Henry Allen.
    • Free Soil party.
    • Liberty (personified).
    • New York, State of, state government and politics.
    • Slaves and slavery, as a campaign issue.
    • Spoils system and patronage.
    • Taylor, Zachary, as presidential candidate.
    • Treasury of the United States.
    • Van Buren, John.
    • Van Buren, Martin, later career.
    • Washburn, Daniel.
    • Wright, Silas.
  • Format:
    • Lithographs--1840-1850.
    • Political cartoons--1840-1850.
  • Collections:
    • Cartoon Prints, American
    • Popular Graphic Arts
Author Peter Smith (apparently pseudonym for Nathaniel Currier)
(Reusing this file)
Public domain
This media file is in the public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1925, and if not then due to lack of notice or renewal. See this page for further explanation.

United States
This image might not be in the public domain outside of the United States; this especially applies in the countries and areas that do not apply the rule of the shorter term for US works, such as Canada, Mainland China (not Hong Kong or Macao), Germany, Mexico, and Switzerland. The creator and year of publication are essential information and must be provided. See Wikipedia:Public domain and Wikipedia:Copyrights for more details.
Other versions

For a highly negative cartoon of the 1848 Free Soil party presidential effort, see File:Marriage of the Free Soil and Liberty Parties (4360140320).jpg


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