AKIN, James (attrib.)
The Pedlar and his Pack or the Desperate Effort, an Over Balance
[Philadelphia: 1828]. Etched with aquatinting. Excellent condition. Image size: 9 5/8 x 14 1/4 inches. Sheet size: 11 1/4 x 17 1/4 inches.
Rare American political caricature from the famous 1828 race
This is an interesting cartoon satirizing the paradoxical effect that negative attacks on Andrew Jackson were having in the famous campaign of 1828. An editor-publisher in Philadelphia named John Binns had published several harsh hand-outs called "coffin hand bills" that accused Jackson of arbitrary executions of American militia volunteers under his command and Native American prisoners, as well as violent episodes from Jackson's personal history. All this, though hardly altogether false, had the effect of increasing Jackson's popularity. It isn't clear whether the hand bills failed because they exaggerated Jackson's excesses or because an important portion of the population approved of the implied excesses, probably the latter. It was, of course, an all male electorate and fighting Indians was a recent if not immediate experience for much of white America.
The cartoon shows Binns being crushed by the weight of the coffins, Henry Clay and John Quincy Adams, the other leading candidates, hanging on. Adams is holding the Presidential chair, soon to be lost to the military hero.
Not in Murrell, A History of American Graphic Humor ; Reilly, American Political Prints 1828 - 3; Weitenkampf, page 21.