Dixon Hall Lewis, a congressman from Alabama, weighed over 400 lbs.  A special seat had to be constructed for him when he joined the Senate in 1844.  He supported Calhoun on the issues of states’ rights and nullification.
In 1840, President Martin Van Buren ran against Whig candidate William Henry Harrison, whom the Democrats mockingly called “Granny Harrison.”
Democrat Francis Preston was the editor of the Globe and an influential advisor to President Van Buren.  South Carolina congressman Francis W. Pickens once called Blair a “galvanized corpse.”

Locofoco refers to a radical faction of the Democratic Party that opposed state banks, paper money, and tariffs.   The Locofocos were at the height of their power in 1840 when this cartoon was created.  They supported Van Buren’s monetary policies.
John Calhoun, a Senator from South Carolina, believed in the concept of “nullification,” which referred to a state’s right to nullify federal laws that it deemed unconstitutional.  He had been Andrew Jackson’s Vice President but resigned when Jackson blocked South Carolina from nullifying the Tariff of 1828.
The traitor Cataline conspired to take over Rome in the 1st century BC.
Drawn On Stone [Political Prints from the 1830's and 1840's]

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Note On Attribution

Based on the caricatures of Blair and Lewis, Expansion and Contraction and the original Locofoco and Nulification Nuptials are thought to be by the same artist.   Compare the drawing of Blair’s head in these two cartoons with the examples shown below by Napoleon Sarony (also featured in the exhibit).  Based on these almost identical caricatures of Blair, Sarony, who was known to use pseudonyms, appears to be the creator of all four cartoons.

Detail from
A Globe to Live On

signed by
Napoleon Sarony

Detail from
The Secretary of War

attributed to
Napoleon Sarony